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Bangladeafy – Narcopaloma

Nefarious Industries

Bangladeafy - NarcopalomaSo the main reason I picked up this record for review is because I think that it’s the responsibility of the writer to pick up things for spurious reasons. The reason I will never review, or listen to, Jaga Jazzist is because the name is terrible. Bangladeafy is an awesome name.

They’re made up of a brown bloke with Bangla heritage, and a bloke who’s deaf. So they get an immediate 10/10 for the dumb/brilliant name. It being Christmas and me being a literally exciting person, I’m re-reading Paul Feyerabend‘s Farewell to Reason at the moment. He’s a philosopher of science, holds with anarchy in a scientific setting: “‘Anything goes’ does not mean that I shall read every single [scientific] paper that has ever been written — God forbid! — it means that I make my selection in a […] idiosyncratic way”. Which is to say that if it’s good enough for one of the foremost philosophers of science to be a dick about why he’s picking things up, then it’s fine for me to do the same.

That bit wasn’t particularly relevant to the review, but I really love Feyerabend so you should too.

It’s only a wee record, fifteen minutes in total, and the tempo never really drops. You get the impression of a band trying to finish the record while really needing a wee, so doing it at double time. Oftentimes one of the things that annoys me about “rock” music (whatever that means now) is that the drummer’s keeping rather than accentuating time; a trick that Bangladeafy pull off is to have bass and drums (the main, often exclusive elements of the record) syncopating differently over the same rhythm/pulse, giving the impression of complex time signature changes as opposed to simpler compound time. It’s quite smart and it means that a couple of ideas with a few variations in a couple of registers sound like beastly complex things.

Not to say these songs aren’t complex, but there’s a question of finding ways to sound complex while keep parts smartly separated. “Say It With Your Chest” as a “1-2-3-4” at the beginning and I’m not sure if the apparent time signatures shifts in the song aren’t smart applications of rests and shifting syncopations to the middle of bars. I tend to be cynical of a lot of math-rock/prog things for doing these things, but where Bangladeafy do it well it’s because it’s fundamentally closer to fusion jazz without all the floppy dogshit that comes with fusion.

I think there’s a rhumba in last track, “Trillionaire”. I probably could’ve checked, but since I’ve already started off the review in a spurious fashion, it seems futile to actually write things down properly. It’s one of those records that, being fifteen minutes and chock full of clever little turns at a decent lick, it’s difficult to pin down what’s going on. It’s often closer to something like a suite of themes than a set of discrete songs. Transitions between sections and songs often feel more like rests than they do gaps between one and t’other.

I’ll be honest, math-rock (arguably the closest touchpoint for a lot of this) often leaves me cold — too often a case of “we’ve got a music degree but missed the lessons on melody/ taste”. So the brevity of this record, and that it feels like a melodic panic attack, mean that it’s just the side of math-rock I can dig. At twice the length I’d probably start twiddling my thumbs a bit, but it’s just that side of short that means it took me a few listens in a row to realise that it’d started and/or finished. So yeah. Mad props to the name and mad props for the brief assassin’s approach to making an EP.

-Kev Nickells-

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