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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
October Language
Carpark Records

Rating: 8/10 ?

February 15, 2006
New Orleans duo Belong are the latest outfit to stake their claim in the sprawling scene of guitar embroidery. Manifesting a clear debt to the traditions of 1990s shoegaze pioneers My Bloody Valentine and international heavyweights The Jesus and Mary Chain, October Language assumes a new guise for the six-string - as a generator of frothing noisescapes, dripping with delay and distortion.

Though the tone is clearly ambient, this is more than mere drift music. Belong's sound is panoramic and expansive, fleshed out with enough sonic interference to maintain a sense of urgency, but not to the point of concealing its melody. Their employment of static waves and microscopic tics and skitters bestows upon October Language a sharp, almost material feel, though it is threaded loosely enough to juxtapose any stark form of regularity.

There is no doubt that Belong have issued an electronic album, but the natural feel that it exudes will certainly challenge the strictly glitch set. Intertwined with the busy signals is a prevailing sombreness in which the pair exhibit their curiosity. As with many debuts, October Language conveys uncertainty, as if to simply lay ground rules, rough sketches of boundaries they are one day destined to break. Though their coyness is honest, pure and well expressed, and subsequently easy to get lost amongst, Belong leave us with the notion that they're not yet completely dialed in.

"I Never Lose. Really Really" sets a dramatic scene as a mumbling pad collects and gives birth to an all-encompassing din, awash with discreet hums and buzzes. Next to its timid successor, "Red Velvet or Nothing," it emits a sense of triumph which duly dissipates into an interspersed series of episodic swells in the case of the latter. The Fenneszian title-track mixes some of the Austrian's dispensed tricks of the trade with a more linear structure - though the loops may sound almost familiar, they are given a personal touch - while "I'm too Sleepy... Shall We Swim" reaches a milestone in sparsity, illustrating Belong's knack for executing and exploiting peaks and troughs.

October Language is more than a promising debut. It works as a shining example of the beauty that may lie within the manipulation of noise and subtle melodies, without sounding indigestible or na´ve or pretentious or any of the terms that denote the brick walls that sound scientists of this ilk often face. Though time may give Belong the benefit of a clearly defined direction, October Language gives cause to the suggestion that they may not really need it.

Reviewed by Mike Wright
A staff writer based in London, England, Mike Wright is eternally troubled by the American bastardization of the English language.

See other reviews by Mike Wright



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