There are some songwriters who make me so jealous as to actually be sick to my stomach. Off the top of my head, Matt Bellamy is one, Thom Yorke is one, Sean Bonnette (of the Andrew Jackson Jihad) is one, and now Sel Belamir is one. At the end of the day, if you aren’t moved to something by the lyrics “I sleep deeply every night/ in a world that’s better than real life/ I’ve found a hiding place/ beneath a dirty blanket of distorted bass”, then rock n’ roll is clearly not for you.
This is rock poetry as it was meant to be done- sex, drugs, decadence, transcendence: “yes now I’m back from the dead/ gonna turn it up louder inside your head/ with the sound of many days/ when we could feel the cheap drugs squeezing through our veins/ like a million girls and boys/ I’m just another grainy brick in a wall of noise.” In fact, in the opener ‘Motorhead’, Sel himself gives a hint as to why this is a great album when he sings, “now music fills my empty bones/ well now sometimes it seems it’s the only place I’ve left to go.”
Obviously the bank of effects that have been used in this recording go some way to creating the total sonic absorption that this record offers, but lest we forget: this is a three-piece band, and not only that, but one who cut their chops live after years of touring. Make no mistake, whilst they are offering you a packaged escape here, we are still dealing with an actual band, not some abstract entity like some leftfield musical groups.
Nowhere else is this more evident than with Belamir’s voice itself; at once immediate and powerful, the only times it fails the music is when a more restrained tone is required. He truly only seems to catch his stride when really projecting his voice, but since the majority of people that buy this album will be listening out for the riff-heavy rock of ‘Airbourne’, ‘Panzer’ or singles ‘The Consultancy’ or ‘Neon’, this is unlikely to detract from the listening experience for them.