Reviews Barren Womb Old Money/New Lows

Barren Womb

Old Money/New Lows

Shortly after releasing their debut full length I had the opportunity to have a chat with Barren Womb. They then told me they liked playing in a two-man band as it gave them the opportunity to work really fast. The decision making process is so much easier without a lot of different opinions around. These words seemed to be true as one year later the band had not only released a split, but also had a new full length out. However much I enjoyed those records, the band disappeared of my radar shortly after. That was three years ago. When I picked Old Money/New Lows out of the promo bin I assumed I had a lot to catch up to. Fortunately for me that was not necessary. The band took their time for this record: Old Money/New Lows is album number three. 

I enjoy keeping track of bands to see how they develop over time. Barren Womb is a band that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Things change a lot with them over time. They also know they have a core identity they have to keep their. There's no doubt that this is Barren Womb album, no matter the different influences they incorporated. Let´s just quickly have a look at their development. On their debut, The Sun Is Not Yellow, It's Chicken, the band was really all over the place. Rooted firmly in Refused like hardcore they seamlessly incorporated blues, stoner, rock 'n' roll and black metal influences. Nique Everything, album number two, was more focussed. Less influences were incorporated. Outside of the hardcore base there were (firm) traces of country and americana, but it was so much more focussed. The album also had a much darker atmosphere. But, as we are not discussing those albums here, the main question is: what are Barren Womb up to now? The Refused style hardcore still is noticeable, but the band has truly made it a sound of their own. Like in the past loads of songs incorporate different influences. There are the machine-like Helmet riffs on ("Drive Through Liquor Store") or some blues and metal influences on album closer "Russian Handkerchief". In the songs where the blues influences are allowed some time in the lime-light I seem to hear some Tom Waits weirdness as well. Something that works really well within the whole of Barren Womb (just look at the song titles, especially those of The Sun Is Not Yellow, It's Chicken and you'll understand that weirdness and Barren Womb are no strangers). 

Production wise this is pretty strong, as I'm used to from Barren Womb. The production makes Barren Womb sound like a full band (although of course, they will insist two people can form a full band, but I hope you catch my drift). The guitar sounds full and meaty and the drums are thundering like it should on any rock-related record. As in the past, the best songs are those where the band refuses to color within the (hardcore) lines. They enjoy bending the rules and do so with a lot of swag. Somehow I feel this is perfect music for good weather. So: let the spring begin!

Track to check: "Mad 187 Skills".

8.0 / 10Dennis
Radio K 2
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