Debut 7”, At War for Youth (the band has also released a split cassette) seems totally off-putting. It’s brash, terribly lo-fi, and haunting. There is a strong, almost mesmerising quality that springs forth from its murky depths of whatever genre you might classify it as. And to make it easy on you, let’s just say its post-punk/lo-fi/electronic/no-wave whatever music.
Akin to some very obscure artists you might find on blogs like killyourpetpuppy or obscure80's, War use all the notions of past acts, and re-ups them with modern day mechanics in sound and style. Of course, with today’s technology that idea seems easy to do, but right here it’s more abused and distorted. An almost uncharacteristically sense of use. The Danish duo of Loke Rahbek (Sexdrome) and Elias Bender Rønnenfelt (Pagan Youth, Iceage) seem to relish in this old mixture of texture and atmosphere.
Recorded on a four-track cassette with simple use of synth, pedals, drums, and guitar, this reeks of DIY spirit. The droning rhythms of Suicide and perhaps the harshness of Swans are present here. The opening title track is like the death call to arms. Buried deep are distorted vocals, filtered through what can be pictured as a cement mixer or a jet engine. The guitars strum along with a lazy flow and the overall use of lo-fi fuzz is most extreme. The synths are also nicely done. Withstanding the power to overbear; they carry the track along to its end. Track two, “Kains Mærke” is a bit different. An instrumental song of cold waves layered over and over, it’s not easy to stomach. But, of course, it’s rightly included because of what this music entails from its influences. A gothic person’s quiet place perhaps?
And then there’s the single and highlight of this short release, “Brodermordet.” Feeling like a merry-go-round drug trip, it’s very lonesome and depressing. It’s actually quite hard to detail this track into words because it’s so odd. There’s a presence of spontaneity, but also of executed talent. Rønnenfelt’s vocals reverb and sound like Faris Badwan of The Horrors, but they are so low in the mix that it leaves one wanting to understand this supposed song of fratricide’s meaning. But then if they were up high, and you could clearly hear them, the mysterious air surrounding the song would be all but gone. And speaking of that merry-go-round effect, you can blame that on whatever sort of high-pitched squeal this song contains. It’s a sound so far out of left field it just pierces the track with its presence. Being strangely hypnotic, it just doesn’t compare to anything really, and that’s pretty remarkable.
Outer seams of punk are being brought back, and with last year’s excellent debut from Iceage, and recent releases from Pop.1280 and The Men it’s a refreshing thing to have. With more focus and longer tracks, War could perhaps be on to something big in the underground. A rejuvenation of sorts…
6.9 / 10
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