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Koalra - Disasterclass (Gigantic Noise Records)

3 November 2023

Opposites attract. That’s what they say, and it is true, certainly in musical terms; just listen to this cool cut from Chicago noise merchants Koalra. There’s an undeniable urgency propelling this tune forward, a contemporary and only marginally less menacing take on the age-old motorik pulse, yet here, it’s pitched into a state of even greater frenzy and disarray. Meanwhile, the ethereal upper register of the composition is woven from a tangle of guitars, their jangling quality defying the powerful undercurrent they ride upon.

Amidst the fray, we find drifting vocals, their distant echoes evoking the spirits of bands like The Cure, particularly during their earlier days when they were content with their oddball, off-kilter pop experimentation. The result? An uncanny, brilliant, and brilliantly uncanny piece of music. Music that you could loosely pinpoint to some time within the last forty years, but one that you wouldn’t dare confine to a more precise era.

“Disasterclass” (a fine moniker for a tune, by the way) is an enigmatic, subterranean escapade, straying from the beat and waltzing to its own whimsical and dream-infused cadence. Muscularity coalesces with melody, groove forged through a delicate yet gritty amalgamation, as the weight of the musical experience owes as much to the interplay of countless small guitar motifs and shimmering layers delicately interlaced as it does to the relentless driving backbeats.

Above all, this is music that spurns passing trends and transient fashions, opting instead to carve its own sonic comfort zones. And one can’t help but develop a fondness for bands audacious enough to chart their own course, now, can you?