Album: Clouds Surround and Breathe
Number of Tracks: 9
Release Date: 10 August 2014
Label: Frail Abuse Records
Crashing on to the scene in a swirl of moody, echoing guitars and frantic drumming, the 10th August saw Wolverhampton band, Haze, release their début album, Clouds Surround and Breathe (CSB). From the start, this is a band perfectly happy mashing together contemporary genres to achieve some kind of hardcore-in-slow-motion experience. The chaos that ensues certainly takes on a multidimensional format depending on how deeply you wish to look into the music.
At first glance, the attempted marriage of sweet and slow guitar melodies to a relentlessly punk infused bellow does seem a little impossible. The organic roaring is at times a little overbearing and makes the single, I Can’t Help But Get Lost, seem a bit of a let down compared to the contrastively beautiful opening track, Colure.
However, patience wins out, especially when putting compositions such as Upheaval to the test. While the initial stages are a rather over-literal representation of the track-title, juxtaposition is revealed as the album’s key strength as we eventually return to the desolate enchantment exhibited by CSB‘s opener. Nothing happens to actively excite the senses but the steady chiming of guitars is tastefully complimented by the percussion, teasing rather than stimulating as it reaches crescendo after mini crescendo.
2. I Can’t Help But Get Lost
7. i. Like Glass
8. ii. Skies Fluctuate and Fall
9. iii. Clouds Surround and Breathe
As the album progresses it becomes increasingly apparent that the key to surviving a listen of it is to take the sonic onslaught as an abstract piece of art. The result is some kind of darker form of psyche-rock. This reaches its hypnotic peak during Loomer, a track that, while still incorporating the basic crescendo structure, starts by building a slow and mournful, creaking melody. It then swells, multiplies and eventually comes to a terrible end, just as sad and desolate as the beginning but oddly bolder and almost reassuring.
Listen to Loomer below:
Emotive though this formula is, it does become a little repetitive after a while. Even in the closing stages of the album, a finishing hat-trick of tracks fails to break the cycle as it simply stretches the same pattern over three acts.
There is no doubt that in an album with a nine-minute track and a level of production that bends the sonics of Haze’s début on to such an other-worldly plane, a little over-indulgence has taken place. This of course will divide listeners rather than put off an entire audience, though. The rift will fall between those who were hoping for something a little more decisive and clear-cut in its genre, and those who feel able to let the ill-defined, all-consuming nature of CSB wash over them. If these nine tracks can be listened to in the latter frame of mind, Haze certainly have the potential to take their soulful yet decimating sound the full distance.
For more Haze, go to:
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