Kerouac / The Long Haul

Split EP

Written by: AP on 21/07/2011 12:04:36

Joining forces for this split EP are two of Southampton's most viable prospects in the hardcore genre. While Kerouac already have a debut EP, "Cold and Distant, Not Loving", in the bag as well as a long play in the planning, it serves as a unique opportunity and springboard for the lesser known Long Haul to prove their worth alongside a more experienced band; and despite the two band's notable differences, the result is a seamless and surprisingly complete experience.

Leaving no time for formalities, The Long Haul immediately unleash a deluge of emotion guaranteed to send your blood boiling with "Dead Soul / Endless Drag", its spellbinding riffs hallmarking Britain as a serious proponent of modern hardcore. The way in which Lizzie Maires' guest vocals intertwine with frontman Curtis Lightbrown-Smith's impassioned bellows is so refreshing it hurts - the mark of a band fully in command of their own capabilities and unafraid to gamble with the more experimental aspects of the genre. The following "Lost Harmony" presses on with more frantic drumming and tangled melodies; the band's half concluding in a maelstrom of raw power and foreboding atmosphere with "The Passing of Dreamers".

With a section as impeccable as that of The Long Haul's, one is left wondering how Kerouac could ever top it on theirs. But when "I Owe Some People the World But I Owe You Shit" kicks in, Kerouac at once demonstrate their own proficiency in crafting chaotic and abrasive hardcore with a British wash. Darker, deeper, and sharper than The Long Haul's contributions, Kerouac strip down the atmosphere to pure confrontation, with vocalist Thom Denson's dominant vocals at the forefront. "Young Wounds" showcases the band's penchant for disturbing polyrhythms; a relentless discharge of suffocating energy that perfectly translates the band's deranged live presence. Then, as if to prove their manifold talent, Kerouac lead this split EP to a raging, slow burning, stomach churning finale in "Porcelain", recalling with formidable precision the ferocity and overwhelming angst of the iconic "Jane Doe".

Neither band comes to the table with the superlatives of hardcore characteristics. Rather than pushing their music to be the heaviest or fastest, which both bands are surely more than capable of, there is a mutual care and intelligence in the arrangements which highlight the bands' innovative songwriting without going over the top. As a result, the EP serves to strengthen both bands' existing repertoire, as well as to provide a showcase for the burgeoning hotbed of UK's south-coast hardcore scene.


Download: Dead Soul / Endless Drag, The Passing of Dreamers, Young Widows, Porcelain
For the fans of: Bastions, Converge, Throats
Listen: The Long Haul, Kerouac

Release date 07.03.2011
Tangled Talk Records

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