Gavin Portland

Views Of Distant Towns

Written by: PP on 01/05/2007 16:55:37

Somewhere deep in the back of my mind resonates a confused tone repeating one word: Iceland. Yes, it's that distant island state somewhere up north, so remote and small that you hardly ever notice any news from there, or mention it in your geography discussions. Staying true to their image of a tightly knit society, the Icelandic music scene is vibrant but ultimately unknown to the outside world, and from that confined scene springs Gavin Portland, an awesome post-hardcore act whose music sounds like time had literally stood still for the last ten or fifteen years.

Their debut album "Views Of Distant Towns" brings nostalgia into mind of times when music was full of honesty, hardcore bands were fierce and stayed true to their origins. Songs like "The Yesterday Code" sound remotely like something Shai Hulud could have written during their early years - they are slow to mid-tempo, feature extended chord progressions and stupendous crescendos and buildups, but aren't excessive in breakdowns and beatdowns like the modern hardcore bands, in fact there hardly are any. The music keeps building up but instead of releasing the massive energy congregrated throughout a song in a breakdown, the band loosely withholds it in their sound and just end songs with dissonance instead, thus exploring a refreshing angle on hardcore. The vocalist's soaring voice is fierce and ravaging, drawing chills from your back as his slowly approaches a state of insanity on each track, but particularly on "Breathing Is Hard Work" and on "Watch Out For The Bears", where the band experiments the most with their harsh post-hardcore sound. Its slowly developing aggression pauses just before two minutes have gone past and is replaced with quietly echoing chords and slates of clean singing full of melancholy and restrained desperation - it all wouldn't be entirely out of place on a mid 90s Fugazi album.

"Views Of Distant Towns" is an aggressive piece of post-hardcore with plenty of soul and heart. It doesn't need to rise up to in-your-face aggressiveness levels to demonstrate it, the restrained and fierce vocals and the carefully thought out riffs do it instead, although the final track "With A White Picket Fence" does get a stranglehold of your neck. It's the kind of album that we need in 2007, to demonstrate that sounding trendy isn't important as long as you are true to your origins. Without further due, I present you the most exciting band from Iceland in a long, long time.


Download: Breathing Is Hard Work, Watch Out For The Bears, With A White Picket Fence
For the fans of: Fugazi, Shai Hulud
Listen: Myspace

Release date 04.04.2007
12 Tónar

Related Items | How we score?
comments powered by Disqus


© Copyright MMXXI