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TRACK LIST: 1. My Iceberg Soul 3:54 2. Through the Lurking Glass 5:42 3. The Third Sun 9:26 4. Stop Flying 6:20 5. Lighthouse 6:33 6. Grassmemory 4:08 7. Looking Through the Glass 7:58 8. Your Iceberg Soul 7:40 LINEUP: Michal Pawlowski – guitars; vocals Jacek Bezubik – guitars; vocals Krzysztof Sarna – drums Gosia Sutula – bass; vocals Beata Grzegorczyk-Andrejczuk – el. piano
Prolusion. The Polish band NEWSPAPERFLYHUNTING first appeared as recording artists back in 2008, when they released an initial EP called "Storytelling". Since then they have released two additional EPs and two full-length studio productions. "Iceberg Soul" is the most recent of their albums, and was self-released by the band at the start of 2014.
Analysis. As progressive rock has enjoying a renewed renaissance, at least as far as public general interest and the number of artists exploring the genre is concerned, the bands that opt to create music in this vein also brings some new elements to the allegorical table. Since the second half of the ‘90s it has been gradually more common to encounter bands that incorporate a certain indie rock orientation to their take on progressive rock, and newspaperflyhunting is a band that fits within this general context. Bands like Radiohead are perhaps still the most well-known acknowledged progressive rock bands that have strong ties to an indie rock sound, and Newspaperflyhunting does create mosaic that incorporates subtle details that may or may not be traced back to that band as a possible origin. At the same time there are subtle nods in the direction of bands like Porcupine Tree to be found here, and while this may arguably also be described as a band that brought some indie rock elements to progressive rock, those are of a vastly different character altogether. Where Newspaperflyhunting departs in style from many other bands that bring in aforementioned possible elements to their music is that they incorporate such details into a context that revolves around post rock, and as such creates compositions residing in a rather different context than many others. Delicate, plucked guitar details are central in their compositions, combined with firmer light toned riffs, often with a resonating touch to them. Wandering organic-sounding piano motifs, presumably from the Fender Rhodes, add a further delicate touch, with the bass supplying a darker texture, nicely contrasting the lighter toned details described, with a steady beat beneath ranging from delicate percussion to firm drum beats. Various forms of textured guitar details are applied, as well as the archetypical plucked, nervous guitar soloing that is a common feature for just about any band with a post rock orientation, and in the case of this one we're also treated to a fair few sections with gritty, dark and twisted guitar riffs applied as riff patterns, subtly cosmic sounding resonating riffs, as well as used to provide a menacing textured instrument motif, a kind of the dark side of post rock in sound for the latter mode. The songs ebb and flow between delicate and firm arrangements, with occasional lapses into a darker and more intense expression, and are generally fairly inventive in terms of structure and development. A promising band exploring their particular brand of indie-flavored, post rock-oriented progressive rock in an interesting manner, but alas with a few drawbacks that will limit their overall appeal. The band employs both a male and a female vocalist, and neither of them appears to have the strength to truly carry a song at this point. Both have noticeable accented vocals, but more importantly they come across as too subdued. Uncertain perhaps, or trying to achieve a delicate vocal delivery without quite managing to pull it off. Both have good voices with a good range, but don't manage to fully use their natural talent in the vocal department. I also found myself wanting to hear a more expressive drummer in action. A few more delicate touches, a few more fills, a few more inventive touches in general. At last the recording quality, mix and production also leave a bit to be desired. Mix and production may be at fault for my perceptions about the vocals, at least up to a point, but I also found the recording to be a bit sub par, and the mix and production to be of a character that didn't quite manage to emphasize the many good sides of this band.
Conclusion. The Polish band Newspaperflyhunting are one of many outfits around that, by accident or design, appear to create a brand of post rock that draws in details from indie rock to flavor their material, and that they operate out from a post rock platform, or at least have a strong and distinct orientation towards that style, what sets them a bit apart from many others. Their delicate compositions with firmer, harder edged and darker intermissions and developments are interesting and often fairly innovative, but the end result suffers a bit from some key weaknesses that will limit their overall appeal. Still, an interesting band that has the potential to develop into a unit with a wider overall appeal, and one that merits a check by those with an interest in bands that incorporate indie rock and a liberal amount of post rock into their take on progressive rock.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: March 16, 2015
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