Now Wakes the Sea – God’s Light, Withdrawn
Now Wakes the Sea are a band I have taken to referring to as ‘The Best Band in Scotland No-one From Scotland Has Heard Of’. Snappy, I know. I think Jim from Aye Tunes is a big fan, as is Ally, who puts on the Pendulum Man gigs here in Edinburgh, but that’s about all I can think of off the top of my head.
It’s not a massive surprise, I suppose. The music is swathed in crackle and hiss, it moves at a glacial pace, it’s miserable as fuck and unless you’re specifically drawn to that kind of thing, like I am, then I can see how pretty much none of this stuff would really compel you to listen beyond the first few minutes. You would be wrong, though. Very, very wrong.
Yes, this is downbeat and fairly dour, but despite being made with the bare minimum of equipment and sung with sufficiently little force that it verges on a barely tuneful mumble half the time, this stuff has that ‘gloriously morose’ sense of itself which is becoming such a significant category in my music library.
And actually, the music is pretty subtle and nuanced, for all the minimalism and lo-fi style. O Lover, for example, has a relatively full arrangement, and by these standards a fairly insistent tempo, and this kind of change of pace keeps the record interesting, even in its relatively consistent sense of malaise. Tunes like O Lover and Peak, which follows it, can actually suggest a bit of Casiotone For the Painfully Alone when they add the electronic beat to the slow vocal delivery and simple synth sounds, but that’s not quite the right picture to have of this stuff.
There’s more of a fumbling bleakness to a lot of this, but for some reason it doesn’t feel depressing. It’s music which doesn’t sound like it is seeking to be consoled, or for you to absorb or even share the sense of dislocation which it shows, it’s just one of those cases where something is what it is, and you can either embrace that and love the music or move on and find something else.
I’ll repeat myself though. This lot are the best Scottish band that absolutely no-one in Scotland has ever heard of. Buy the album on tape here.More: now wakes the sea