Reviews for [RL75]
Bare Pale "If It Is"
- Half Gifts
bare pale's debut EP if it is is a practice of restrained aggression. Sure that term may seem to be an oxymoron, but I couldn't think of a better phrase to describe the band's noise-pop vibe. Although each song trudges along at mid-tempo and has somewhat of a "slacker rock" vibe, they're pushing their way through groaning scuzz and harshly pounded drums in the way one tries to run in a swimming pool. And it's that well-crafted combination of intense noise and laid-back grooves that makes this album work. (Think "Mayonnaise" by Smashing Pumpkins) Take a tip from me and dive into that lake of distortion-flavored pudding.
The eponymous first track gets things off to a good start as muffled chords quickly bounce up and down the guitar neck; drums crashing with a trebly bite. The monotone vocals are barely audible, which, as I've been known to say, is never a bad thing. This recipe for shoegazer stew isn't oft strayed from throughout if it is, giving it a monolithic construction, leaving you staring with a glazed gaze while being pummeled by a wall of screeching guitar. Dub it onto a crappy blank tape, play it in your Honda Civic and wallow in your indie-pop induced lethargy.
- Depression Chamber
Iím getting hot from listening to this; this guitar is emanating some deep sweltering heat. Itís not a stinging burn because itís a very lurid airy heat, kind of like a microwave. Iím melting under this entire guitar sound. Itís turning my ears into very weird looking goo, melting them off slowly and blissfully. Iím subdued with laziness. Hell yeah.
I donít know too much about bare pale, and I suppose I do not need to. The tape plays nice, looks nice, and smells great. Very instantly it seems like time slows down and your body hangs heavier than usual. That slouch you got from being bent over your whole life morphs into a hump. There are times in the tape where my brain is tricked into feeling like Iím about to get high. I havenít smoked weed in 5 years, and Iím unsure if the intent was to make the listener feel this way. Perhaps your experience will be different though. I think you cannot ask too much from bare pale as a band, because they wonít give you what you want. I cannot parade this as shoegazeís switch back out of the mainstream troupe its re-taken recently, because there are a ton of shoegaze bands that still keep that corner of indie rock under the glimpse of the DIY moon. But bare pale is obviously a very good, young band. They know what they want to play and how to get it done, though whether it is what you wanted isnít the concern of the very heavy riffs and sneaky/breathy vocals.
Overall if you want a quick peek at what youíre about to listen to, then prepare for something that sounds like The Spiny Anteaters playing in a super band with The Swirlies and Ericís Trip. Itís not a novelty act though, I think that behind all the Ďverbin out and laziness of the sunny tracks you get a warm distinction of DIY empathy. Niche, not novelty. Once you know this then you can thoroughly just stay gooey in the burnt bedroom smell of ďif it is.Ē
The tape is dubbed pretty well, and instead of the trademark Rok Lok stamp/sticker of approval, the sides are printed on. Itís very neat and adds to the mystique of the 1990ís in 2013. The cheeseburger babe on the cover gives no insight to the music at all, as in I wouldnít know this was a bedroom shoegaze band from it (Sahar Gilani is a talented individual, though).
You can pick it up from Rok Lok in the US (or anywhere), but Iím sure the band would like if it you nabbed some from them as well (especially nice if you are from the UK).
- The Sound of Confusion
To many the world of lo-fi can sound like a cat trapped in a bucket, down a well, making a racket. Then one of the joys of lo-fi is that you really have to listen, to put yourself in that bucket down that well. Then suddenly this world of amazing noise surrounds you in the most marvelous way. You hear sparkling songs, that shine out of the dark. On their debut EP 'If It Is', Bare Pale are lo-fi, yet fantastically so. Amongst a wash of discordant, yet harmonious noise, opening song 'Bare Pale' lays out their template. Somewhat akin to early Sonic Youth melted with shoegaze melodic crashes. 'Bare Pale' leads quickly into second track 'Homecoming'. It is quite a wondrous amalgamation of the deep fuzz-laden grunge of Dinsouar Jr, The Melvins, and all the while drenched in honeyed melodies and Kurt Vile slacker vocals, which liquify together in quite an enthralling brew.
'I Never Could' is more forceful, the song has a rhythmic sensation of pushing itself along. Almost perversely, underlying it all is an almost proto-krautrock pulse that throbs with the echoing vocals. With dashes of Husker Du and early Lemonheads 'Rub It In' is maybe the most easily connectable of those here. It has a true, sky-bound chorus. There is a drone second vocal that adds a textural depth and recalls The Horrors before the bombast. 'You Look So Different Today' sees Bare Pale truly indulging and encapsulating the 21st century slacker. The song sounds barely awake at first, and struggles to find its form, then somehow it wakes itself up, and all somewhat gloriously falls into place. And Bare Pale then give you a strung out, ragged, yet charming solo to climax the song. Bare Pale bow out the EP with 'Shame'. This is the most sonically deep song so far. It has a real sense of dynamic, held around that exquisite foundation of joyous fizzing fuzz. Throughout 'If It Is' Bare Pale display the sparse, sun-bleached bones of the song, then they immerse you and the song, allowing it to become some blissful, wonderful whiteout of noise and melody.This is a collection of songs that linger even after the feedback has died.
- Boston Hassle
Bare Pale is a relatively new band from London. Their debut release ĎIf It Is,í self-released as an online ep in 2012 and then issued as a cassette by Rok Lok Records, stands out based on how catchy it is. The six tracks of fuzzed out indie pop create a hazy, dreamy atmosphere, less shoegaze than gloomy pop. Underneath the heavy distortion and reverb, echoes of things like Lois Maffeoís Courtney Love project can at times be heard in Bare Pale, in the songsí bedroom pop intimacy, although The Lemondheads would be an equally sound frame of reference. The riffs are also reminiscent of a poppier Broken Water, especially true on standout track ĎShame.í Shame, the high point of the cassette, is one of the high points of 2013 as well. The cassette is still available from Rok Lok Records, who also put out the great Imaginary Pants 7Ē this year.
- Cassette Love
Musical Content: Londonís Bare Pale have offered up a consistent blend of verbed-out lofi noise rock, like a toned-down Jesus & Marychain or early MBV. Everything seems distant and detached. Unfortunately, that means the lyrics are imperceptible, robbing the EP of any intimacy with the audience. Itís still a good album, but youíll find yourself enjoying the sonics instead of singing along. Hopefully, the next release will reveal some lyrical depth to accompany the quality music.
Packaging and Sound Quality: The artwork matches the sound of the music: a slightly fuzzy reproduction on a matte paper (and thatís a compliment, not a criticism). The tape sounds good, reproducing the lofi music with minimal hiss.
- Tuning Into the Obscure
Lo fi and slightly distorted indie rock at its finest. Six tracks adorn this cassette and each one draws me in so completelyÖ itís like being entranced or hypnotized. Itís like halfway between a dream and an altered state of consciousness. That said, this EP gives new life to simple harmonies and DIY indie lo fi genres as a whole. This is sublime! What more can I say? (4.7 out of 5)
- Raised By Gypsies
It will never cease to amaze me when a band has a song that is also the name of their band. Sure, an album title and song title shared makes for the titular track, and I do like to type the word ďtitularĒ but is there a special name for that time when a band has a song named after themselves?
If nothing else, it will always bring me back to the song that was once recorded between the two ska bands Pilfers and Reel Big Fish. Those were crazy times, but yet, bare pale doesnít quite have the same effect in the bandular (?) track.
At times bare pale can sound like Nirvana, but also, on the whole, this is just some serious fuzzgaze, which of course brings up the instant comparison to the band The Cherry Wave, whom I consider to be the fuzzgaze pioneers. So obviously, this is much good then.