noam ~ overdramatic

overdramaticIs this price for real?  Because wow, even Norman Records has commented that £3.99 seems like quite a bargain for this much music.  noam is the new band led by Kentaro Togawa, who our readers will remember from Hopeless Local Marching Band.  While one can draw a line from the sound of that band to the sound of this, overdramatic contains quite a few differences, the most notable being its variety of timbres.  The album contains pure post-rock tracks, fuzzy drone/shoegaze pieces and even some electronica.  But even these tend to bleed into one another: for example, the distorted ending of “shaky step” leading into the reverberated cloud of “rosy retirement.”

Sometimes the sequencing shifts come across as so dramatic (okay, overdramatic) that one needs to double-check; are we still on the same CD?  As scratched-up, fuzzy-out and dirty as “rosy retirement” may be, it’s still a shock to hear the clean, pure, nearly hip-hop introduction to “heartbreaking attempt.”  After only a few seconds, the guitars re-enter, but the drama has been done.  Togawa has often demonstrated his ability to move between genres under different monikers, but now he does so on the same album, and even within songs; the last 1:07 of “heartbreaking attempt” is a pure post-rock explosion.

insideMoments such as these remain the artist’s strength.  Although noam delves into ambience on “purposeful prejudice” and “process of decay,” the endings reveal his innermost leanings.  Even the nine-minute “drowsy state” begins to wake up as the finale approaches.  Only the brief closer, “start of every day,” remains quiet throughout, offering a lovely ivory benediction.

“moderate backlash” is the track that comes closest to Hopeless Local Marching Band, thanks to its glockenspiel and handclaps.  In the same way as Togawa’s post-rock leanings show through the thin fabric of other genres, so does his (welcome) tendency to be upbeat.  The titles of these tracks may tend toward the morose, but the acoustics, especially here, do not.  While it takes more than five minutes for the drums to enter, he’s not in any hurry; the listener has already been led to an upbeat state.  This leopard can change his spots, but he remains a leopard, and we’re glad to encounter him in this way.  (Richard Allen)

Available here

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