Living life in the musical margin LongFallBoots are probably one of the most unusual bands that I have ever reviewed on these pages. It would be easier to build a life size replica of St Paul’s Cathedral out of a small mouldy stick and some chewing gum than it would be to try and define their sound. It’s a smorgasbord of so many styles I’m not even going to try and narrow it down properly; all I’ll say is that their music is heavy, thick, and fuzzy… like a polar bear… sort of.
Before I get into the thick of this one here is the band talking about the creative process, their new member and their litany of guests.
“The album’s writing sessions were done along the same lines as the EPs – i.e. we wrote about 3 songs a night, then recorded about the same per-day when it came to the studio sessions,” explains the band. “Working fast is really important to us, to the point where we don’t think we could do it any other way. The logistics meant that the album took a while to finish though as we wanted to make sure that we also had a good range of guests (like on the EPs) but getting them in for the recordings was a logistical challenge! The waiting around was really unnerving for us, so in the meantime we’ve recorded an EP and written 2 others (to keep the juices flowing!)”
About the duo turned trio they elaborate, “The track “Thousand Hands” was the catalyst for Amy joining the band; we invited her to the studio to lay down some vocals after she’d expressed an interest in working with us. Turns out we work really well together, to the point that shortly thereafter we wrote and recorded our EP “Good at Television” with her on bass and vocals (to tide us over while we waited for guests). When our live bassist Chris moved to Spain there was absolutely no question who would take his place.”
This record was a bit of a beast to try and get to grips with and if I’m being honest took me out of my comfort zone a little bit as large parts of this album aren’t generally the kind of thing that I’d listen to. It’s up in your face straight from the off and makes no apology for it, in places it’s just down right abrasive.
Opening track Transmission is pretty much the band in a nutshell. The riffs are dirtier than your favourite one night stand and that thick and fuzzy sound lays the backdrop for the vocals. Vocals which veer from melodic to screaming blue murder, the contrasts are remarkable. The 2nd Technic features spoken word verses but again that is set against a backdrop of thick guitar riffs are impassioned screams. I love the intro on False Flag, not for the first time the guitar work is a bit Queens Of The Stone Age.
The most surprising moment of the record is that in among all this chaos there lies a track called Thousand Hands. For the most part its gentle and pretty melodic, think of Nirvana in their calmer moments. The addition of the vocal from Amy really gives the whole thing another dimension and it’s all the better for it. The song acts almost as a pallet cleanser from the madness which surrounds it and it’s probably one of the highlights of the entire record.
The carnage returns however on the next track Loaded Question which a 1.08 second onslaught on your senses. Screams, crashing drums, and flying guitar riffs blend together in hard hitting harmony and when everything clicks like this the results are fantastic. Displacer sees a QOTSA style intro kick into something dark and seriously gritty before the plodding Noctavia begins. The song sounds like the end of the world and other than that I haven’t got a lot to say about it, it’s just a bit too full on and I can’t say that I’m a massive fan of it, I found it just too one paced.
That being said the band soon move back to where they are best, and that is contrasting lighter and quicker drums and vocals against hammering madness and screams which sound like they come from the depths of hell. A Peculiar Hell is grungy and not quite as heavy as once more the band slid into more of a Nirvana style territory.
By Design and The Sham are more of the same dark and twisted madness and the latter in particular features some fantastic guitar work. Much like Loaded Question earlier Simultaneous Man is an all-out assault except in all honesty I didn’t like it as much, apart from the guitar work again especially on the solo which is just killer.
The record closes out with part brooding and massively intense An Apology which sees a return of Amy to aid the vocals. This is something which I think the band should have made more use of, as it just gives the tracks something else and helps balance out the screams and the chaos.
Wait For The Echo is a really tough record to get into and if you’re not a fan of that scream style vocal then this really isn’t the album for you. Personally I’m not massive on it so there were sections I found rough going. That being said Thousand Hands and Loaded Question in particular are absolutely awesome tracks.
LongFallBoots are one of those bands who know what they are and if you’re down for the ride then brilliant but if you’re not then they’re just going keep having fun away. There’s a fair chance that like me you’ll find that parts of this record really aren’t your thing but be patient with it and it will grow on you while you unearth a couple of gems. Overall for your casual listener it’s a tough listen and I can’t pretend otherwise but if you’re already a fan of the band or like what the band call ‘Heavy, Fuzzy, Groovy Music’ (And screaming vocals) then Wait For The Echo will probably be right up your street.