I have a lot of friends with very explicit convictions; some are vegans, some are religious, and others have a very specific musical taste. We all get along finely, but at some point I just get really tired of some people who need to discuss and debate their convictions every time I meet them. This is mainly the reason why I dislike a lot of hardcore punk music; it’s so in your face “against everything”. However, I very much understand that you need to be harsh and abrasive when you want to use your music when you want to bring about social or political change. Sometimes I just want to get away from it all and have a good time. So when you name your band after a piece of Half-Life armour, I know your band isn’t going to be too serious and that you must be a nice bunch of guys to hang out with.
RELEASE DATE: 16 February 2015 LABEL: Self-released
After a seemingly endless string of extended plays, LongFallBoots have finally come up with their first full-length album. The purple, satellite and planet-adorned packaging hides a CD that contains a fine set of tunes, firmly rooted in sludge metal and hardcore punk. Alex Caithness (guitar) and Ben Holdstock (drums) formed this band roughly two years ago and are known for their quick bursts of songwriting and recording stints. When I read that their EPs where written and recorded in a few hours time they had me worried about the quality of the material, yet a first listen to “Displacer” convinced me that this album is solid as a rock.
LongFallBoots is completed by Amy Smith, who joined the band after bass player Chris Childs moved to Spain. Chris played most of the bass parts on “Wait for the Echo”, while Amy sung the additional female vocals on the record. These vocals are truly refreshing and give the record a definitive edge.
The production on “Wait for the Echo” is rather interesting. The vocals are low in the mix, almost reducing the screaming to soft noise while the clean vocals lose their lyrics in favour of melody. The rest of the instruments are rather fuzzy and as a whole the album seems to hearken back to the early shoegaze bands like Slowdive. Generally I’m not a fan of this way of approaching production, but in the hardcore punk context it definitely makes the record stand out from the crowd.
You can perfectly cover this album in genre designations, it’s very diverse – but all I want to do is go hard to the music. I don’t care how perfect the mix is between sludge, hardcore punk and shoegaze. These are 13 songs that are heavy, melodic, fresh and passionately given. I was talking about lyrics and convictions before, and from this album it seems like LongFallBoots really are the kind people I presume them to be. “Wait for the Echo” is a hard hitting album for nice people, it’s not overly political or religious and LongFallBoots just do what they do best, and that is play good songs.