New Media – Tunnel Vision

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New Media are an indie rock quartet from who channel a shoegaze sound reminiscent of Ride, the rhythmic influence of Manchester and the heavier guitar sounds of bands like The Cure.

Tunnel Vision‘, their second single of 2020, winds its way around knotty drums and guitars that squeal and squall, adding to the rising sense of tension before it jumps the tracks in the last minute and heads for the highest windswept sonic vantage point.

““Tunnel Vision”, is about the link between insomnia and inspiration. It’s that 3 o’clock in the morning feeling, when the subconscious mind is at its most active. Every car outside, every seemingly insignificant noise or stimuli steals your focus towards it, like a magnet. Watching (and hearing) the sound of traffic gliding up and down “rain soaked streets” from an obscured hotel window and that intellectual tug of war that plays out, between wanting to capture it and letting the thought pass. It’s that intense obsessive compulsion of chasing an idea to its creative fruition, that feverish intensity that can take on a kind of “tunnel vision”, where the mind has the desire to wade ever-deeper into the waters of the subconsciousness, while one foot remains in the shallow edge of the water.”

ALBUM REVIEW: Chastity Belt – Chastity Belt

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Music is about mood and the way it sonically hits the ears, heart and mind just as much as it’s about the stories and ideas conveyed by the lyrics. The appeal of Chastity Belt’s new self-titled album lies in both elements but it’s the overall sound and the warm dreaminess that billows out of the speakers that provides the strongest appeal and connection point.

All four band members share lead vocal duties and they’ve spoken of adding more dynamic harmonies and violin on this record. Those changes are key to the overlapping, drifting and lightly psychedelic sound across the ten songs. Structural experimentation, such as the drums taking a minute and a half to enter the fray on Elena, take the song structures away from standard rock shapes and closer to post-rock or a dream-pop version of Sonic Youth, bereft of their sharper edges. In a way the album sounds like lo-fi jangly guitar songs recorded in high fidelity, given the rich and lush treatment given to the recordings. The result is immersive and, once the listener lets go, quite immersive.

Many of the songs unfurl slowly, gently revealing their melodies on repeat listens as they seep in. A distant descending guitar riff on Rav-4, the counter playing on Half-Hearted that works like a beautifully disembodied version of Verlaine and Lloyd duelling in Television. Split is another gem, bathed in reverb and a tumbling verse that breaks through the clouds into a skyward chorus, it again shows the band quietly pulling at the threads of guitar pop – like The Smiths and some of the bands that emerged from the underground scene in ‘80s New Zealand.

The album never reaches the peak and immediacy of the single Different Now from 2017 but taken as a whole and listened to accordingly, there’s a beauty in the textural nuance and overall gentle hypnosis of the album.

Chris Familton