Student sets out to review everything in existence. Fails miserably.
Let’s face facts. Breaking into the music industry can be a tricky business, especially for a band whose sound is best described as ‘unconventional’. For that reason, I can forgive the unusual marketing tactics that Northamptonshire County Council used to get their new album Dual Carriageway to my attention. This wasn’t an album that I bought for myself; indeed, if I’d seen it on the shelf in my local record store, I probably wouldn’t have given it a second look. No, NCC were far more direct than that. They turned up on my doorstop and played it over and over again.
I’ll be the first to admit that Dual Carriageway as an album has its flaws. Its sound is experimental, eschewing typical boundaries of rhythm and melody in favour of noise and volume. Consequently, it may not be quite to everyone’s taste. The band also makes heavy use of sampling on each track, and as a result, a few of the songs do sound quite similar (compare the opening of track one, ‘Vrrrrrrrrrrm’, with the second and third verses of ‘Beep Beep Scrreeeech’ and you’ll see what I mean). What’s more, I can see what they were going for with the whole ‘ear-splittingly loud’ thing, but I think that if you’re going to try something like that, you really have to go the whole hog with it. There were a few rocks in my neighbourhood that didn’t quite manage to hear the music.
Despite this however, it’s certainly catchy. I haven’t been able to stop listening to it, and by the sound of things, neither have my neighbours; at every hour of the day, whether I’m writing one of these reviews or simply trying to catch up on TV, it always seems that someone nearby is having a listen. Even in the middle of the night, I’ll hear songs like ‘Rrrn Vvvvt Whoosh’ blaring through the wall. I’m thankful for that. I don’t know how, but listening to Dual Carriageway when you’re trying to sleep makes it even better. Can you think of anything better to fall asleep to than the sound of HGV’s roaring past, for hour after hour?
Personally, I loved Dual Carriageway, and I’m very excited to see how Northamptonshire County Council develop as a band. They’ve already announced their next album, ‘Planes Flying Very Low Overhead’, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be up all night listening to that one as well.