Not so long ago, I gave a glowing review to the debut release by Aztec Doll and heaped on the kudos to their Barnsley-based label Of National Importance for their commitment to sourcing quality bands from the region for their roster. This latest offering, a six-tracker that showcases ONI’s acts, justifies my previous lauding of the label, and then some.
Black Lamps contribute a nuanced slice of post-rock indie in the shape of ‘Low Hanging Fruit’,while the aforementioned Aztec Doll continue to mine the seam of dark-edged taut jangly goth pop that characterised their ‘Endlessly’ EP. ‘Suddenly I’m Outside Myself’ boasts a niggling guitar line and haunting vocals to great effect.
McCarthy Vigil’s ‘Chinese Candle’ is measured, hushed, atmospheric and sedate, and stands in contrast with ‘Crying in the Temple’ by Imoko Set, which evokes an electro Placebo. The quality keeps on coming with the offering from Toba Caldera: the brooding baritone vocals and chiming guitars in a fog of reverb are reminiscent of early iLiKETRAiNS with a hint of Nick Cave and Mark Eitzel.
They’ve cunningly saved the best for last, with The Exhibition – the first ONI band I heard, and still my favourite – represented by the atmospheric ‘Memento Mori’. It’s a departure from the high-octane new wave indie rock they’ve aired on previous releases and signals a band expanding their repertoire and really justifies the opinion that they’re ones to watch.
In case you’d not twigged this release yells quality from beginning to end, and if it sounds like I’m on some music journo hype quest, then sure, I’m guilty as charged – simply because this release is one to get excited about.
Of National Importance Records Online