Other Half - 'Big Twenty' Album Review


Tracklist:

1. Karaoke

2. Sameness Without End

3. White Worm

4. Slow Cinema

5. Trance State

6. Big Wheel

7. Brain Food

8. Tiny Head

9. Piggish Man

10. Building The Brand

11. Heads Go Soft

12. Cosmic Slop

13. Sticks At The Sides

14. Community Spirit

“Sameness without end. We never did comprehend just how long that would truly feel.”

A lyric that was presumably written before the current onslaught of Bad Everything but wraps it up quite nicely in an uneasy bow. Which is kind of the general feeling that permeates the entirety of Big Twenty. Hell, Other Half's bandcamp page describes them as playing “nasty music for nice people” and in the press photo released with the album they do, indeed, look nice. Which is exactly the perfect counterpoint to the nervy blasts of tightly wound noise that you can equally hum and mosh to that encapsulate the half hour you dedicate to this album. It's time well spent, trust me.

The album charts the course of a few characters careening downward through something like their twenties in a spiral awash with drugs and uninformed decisions that rings both bleak and hopeful, much like your actual twenties. It's sordid but not maudlin, it's a drug album that follows peaks and troughs like Screamadelica and it has an overall sense of communal “this is shit but everything could be alright for tonight” feeling. It's a pretty literate album that I'd rank with an Arab Strap level of balancing the horror and humor of a certain kind of life and the liner notes read expressive and important in their own right.

Luckily for us, the music ranks just a highly. When the term “Post-Hardcore” gets thrown about you know you're either in for something musically adventurous and exciting, something that gives you the good kind of bruises on your brain and body. Or something really far up it's own ass and heavy with no fun or thought behind it. This one is definitely the former. Production-wise we're in very Steve Albini territory here. Visceral and pared down to just the basics, well-mixed and discernible despite all the noise. Every instrument rings clear with violent intent and purpose, the guitars carry catchy choruses and sinewy freakout riffs in a way that really feels like this record was unearthed from a boarded up basement from mid-90s underground America. The rhythm section barely ever lets you catch your breath, the bass lines holding your spine up and the drums propelling your legs around the room.

To be honest with you I'd like to have something negative to say about this album. I want to think something like there's not enough musical diversity, but pretty much every song includes an element that catches you off guard or throws a spanner in the works. It could just be my inherent bias to noisy music that has great hooks and thought-provoking lyrics, but this thing checks all my boxes. This album is it's own self-contained story of young life falling hopelessly down the stairs to an amazing soundtrack and laying at the bottom thinking it might have enjoyed the experience. And as far as experiences go, Big Twenty is one you wanna have.

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/otherhalfuk/

Review - Julian Hepworth

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