I love technology.
Otherwise this record, Painted, wouldn’t exist. Narrows’ hometown is Seattle and San Diego and London. Making an album in the same place sounds like a pain in the ass. Of course you could agree to meet somewhere but that’s kind of hard when one of the guitarists is denied a visa. So the prospect is this: writing and recording an album across two continents. So thanks to Skype and modern technology, we have Painted.
Like many Deathwish releases, this hardcore band sounds both dirty and airy. Some moments of Painted are dark enough to soundtrack a Dario Argento film. While “Under the Guillotine” and “TB Positive” (grim outlooks, no?) are distant of old school hardcore, Narrows has a way of trudging beats that is utterly unique.
“Absolute Betrayer” and “It’s the Water” are abrasive even as they each play with sound and our capacity to understand it. They are both so hostile sounding it’s like an audio terrorist attack. Likewise are the lyrics – in “Absolute Betrayer” Dave Verellen yells, “These all begin to add up/ Time to get out the wallet and pay my balance down/ Honest. Disgust. Honest. Distrust.”
But what do you expect from a xsupergroupx? True, hardcore does have the tendency to combine. But Narrows is: Dave Verellen (Botch) on vocals, Ryan Frederiksen (These Arms Are Snakes) on guitar, Rob Moran (Unbroken and Over My Dead Body) on bass, Sam Stothers (Makeout Boys) on drums and Jodie Cox (Bullet Union) also on guitar. This is a phenomenon known as “woah” and it’s heard in the eight-minute epic “Greenland,” showing all of their talents integrated. It’s aggressive yet distant. It’s clean yet dirty. It’s powerful yet meaningless.
The only problem is that in the final moments of closer “SST,” you don’t want it to end. Let’s do a few more songs and a “few” isn’t greedy. Yet this is the way it is – eight songs. The bright side is that none of them can fall on their face or be forgotten. Painted is no different than the band’s label mates. Truly I wonder, has Deathwish ever put out crap? Thus far I haven’t heard it.
Narrows bluntly asks you what is reality and who you want to be (painted? Get it?) and you’ll only find out if you ignite the fuse in your ears.