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Warpark - All Things Must End (self-released)

15 November 2023

I must admit that with a name like Warpark and the barbed wire cover image, I was expecting something more metal-orientated than what followed. Which was fine with me. Not to say that they aren’t a band that wanders into harder and heavier realms when they need to, but by and large, this is alt-rock and alt-rock infused with a proggy spirit, a psychedelic vibe, grungy forms, and a college rock sense of outsiderness as the mood takes them.

The opener, “Osiris”, is spacious yet powerful, beat-driven yet with a slightly unstructured feeling; it is somewhat disarming as an opening number, never giving the listener enough clues to work out what the band is truly about. And that is how things stay throughout; it’s one of their best qualities.

“Menacer”, with its cavernous bass sound and slashes of staccato guitar, reminds me of bands like The Pixies, the on/off power dynamics, the unexpected changes of pace and direction, volume and velocity. “Buried Truths”, a previous single, is something else again, a strange emo-folk ballad, full of almost pop moves, or at least pop-aware ones and lilting grooves but somehow washed out and only just on the edge of this world.

“Tomorrow Will Come” is soulful and drifting, a perfectly strange way to end a brilliantly strange album. Before anyone gets upset with my use of the word strange, it is a compliment, strange is off-beat, left-field, uncompromising, genre-defiant, sonically wayward, non-conformist, and if you don’t think this is unconformist, make me a case for which genre you’d file this in the record store.

Brilliant, unexpected, and …brilliantly unexpected.