Post-modernism runs abound on this record from Chinese band Alpine Decline, as far-off vocals and Charlie Sheen-ed guitar (that is, guitars that bleed, and bleed, but show no signs of stopping, and are therefore incredibly impressive), intermingle for a stunning result. ‘Visualizations’ talks like this: college rock bands of far, far gone (Teenage Fanclub, or if Ride were fucking The Jesus and Mary Chain) mixed with some blood-stained My Bloody Valentine and Japandroids, and channelled through the wide eyed-teenage harmonies of Youth Lagoon.
However, there’s a bit more nihilistic tendency in this record than the wafting indie fragrances of someone like Youth Lagoon. Also, the songs seem to go on forever, which can occasionally be a bad thing. However, as long as Alpine Decline are pushing forth with their music, and not lying back and letting their melodies fall on them like some sort of anvil falling on Wile. E Coyote.
The album opens with a very promising tune, ‘Avalanche!’ a song that for the most part, is content to ring out hollow vocals, and flip switches of genius. The chorus of ‘A Cathedral of Stone!’ rings especially strongly, as the college rock riffs comfortably wash over you, but the thing that gives this song real gusto is the noise-rock melting pot that occurs, turning your average rock into a frizzy haired acid wash of mind-bending darkness. Yeah, it’s pretty fucking heavy, especially with the sound up. This train of thought is continued into the second track ‘Enter the Bullet’: cool but soft opening, giving way to a holocaustic and ferocious noise section that swallows the listener whole. Honestly, listening to Alpine Decline is an experience, both horrifying, otherworldly and incredibly cool, like hanging out with those awesome underwater creatures that live in the Marian Trench.
Bar ‘The Totem’, which is the finest track on this record due to its full realisation of gothy poignancy, smoky feedback and catchy nature (it’s like Robert Smith and Robert Pollard had the coolest baby in the world), ‘Visualizations’ ambles along, content with being a really awesome sounding album. The songs don’t really make you snap your neck in an effort to find out the name, but they do sound weird and smooth enough to warrant a consistent thought pattern of ‘fuck, I like this’, and you’ll probably find yourself quite full when the record is done. There won’t be a sense that the record has left you feeling ripped off, nor does the band overdue it. In a world of excess, and bonus tracks wherever you turn, having the skill to turn on and off the tap to leave the listener in a state of bliss is a thankful one indeed.
You can pick up ‘Visualizations’, for $7/$15 on the Tenzenmen Bandcamp right here, very worth it for such a palatable record.