Neptune: msg rcvd – album review

Neptune ”“ msg rcvd (Northern Spy)
Out Now

Boton noise rock band Neptune build all their own custom made guitars and basses out of heaps of scrap metal. Which in most peoples hands would probable turn out as a complete & utter disaster. However Neptune aren’t ‘most people’ & this record, according to Craig Johnson, is similarly far from ordinary.

I wouldn’t say I was all that ”Ëœclued up’ on Neptune. I’ve heard a few things about them, read reviews, shared gossip. The basics of it are that they’re a Boston based, 3 piece Noise / Avant Guarde group who are famed for constructing instrument out of found objects, scrap metal and such. Now they have a new record out entitled ”Ëœmsg rcvd’.

The whole album has a feel of being unexpected. It’s difficult to sit down, listen to it and try to predict where it will go next or if, in fact, it will go anywhere at all. The surprising nature of the album comes down to the range of obscure instruments they use. Guitars made from pieces of found metal, amplified gas cans, metal buckets and ”Ëœfeedback organs’; they all add an element of surprise due to the obscure nature of the sounds that emanate from them. There’s definitely a unique use of sound here though. Of all the little noises that appear throughout the 40 minutes of the album, it’s genuinely difficult to try and decide exactly what is making them, and that gives the music that real ”Ëœuneasy’ quality that I’ve found so inspiring.

The 10 minute long ”ËœDark Report’ is, to me, the albums centrepiece. On the surface, it feels like a slow, meandering song that could almost be seen as meditative due to its subdued nature. When I first listened to it, I felt myself being lulled in; relaxed by the gentle groove that leads the track. However, the mellow path it takes is regularly obstructed by noisy, almost violent sounds. As I say, it’s a strange experience and one that is almost frightening. Listening to the song slowly moving along, I find myself sitting on the edge of my seat, trying to anticipate when the next outburst of noise will meet me.

The album is only 6 tracks long, but I think there’s enough variation in here to keep people interested. I mean, you obviously have to be partial to a bit of obscure, experimental music and if that’s your sort of thing, then this record will be right up your street. No matter what sort of ”Ëœunderground’ music you’re into, there’s an element of most of it in here. Strange, minimal electronics in ”ËœNatural Systems’, a barrage of Industrial sounds in ”Ëœrpr’ and heavy noise drone in ”Ëœdstl sgnl’. For me, listening to it isn’t enough. What I would really like to see is a sort of ”Ëœbehind the scenes’ of the recording of the album, so I can see what’s happening. The music on offer is strong enough for me to paint a picture in my head of what I think is happening, but I just want to compare it with the reality.

Neptune ”“ msg rcvd is out now on Northern Spy Records. I strongly suggest checking it out and then, if you haven’t already, delve deeper into Neptune’s back catalogue.

All words by Craig Johnson. You can read more from Craig on LTW here, on his blog or follow him on Twitter.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


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