REVIEW: A New January – “Cold and Naked”

By JHR

Chain Border

Cold and NakedInteresting. I think. There are processed-to-death guitars, breakbeats, lush keyboardwork and Proper Singing with a Tune and everything. It's tastefully produced and comes with an artfully designed set of lyrics. Maybe it's me, maybe it's the heat (It's currently the hottest the UK's been for quite some time. I don't complain about the warmth because I can't stand winter and don't care to be pale and interesting. Even so...) but Cold and Naked isn't quite grabbing me by the throat.

Though saying that, Worlds are Breaking Down really does jump up and down on the 'breakbeat' lever before going for a portion of Cure-ish flanged guitar-chiming. And back to the breakbeats. Frantically large. Somewhere between Deathboy and Battery sans the scarywoman vox. Yeah – I could get into that played loud somewhere. And then... And then... Ttisiver Ssol is just excellent. And stops too quickly. An MBV interlude played on broken synths. Damn fine. More like that, please!

It's at this point that I was accosted by a robot demanding to know what the bloody hell I'd done with the box of rivets it had left here. By the time I'd convinced the device that it was mistaken, the CD (calls itself 'enhanced' – and there's no Philips 'CD' logo – I wonder if this is Red Book?) has gone for a bit of a reflect and a sit down with a biscuit and a nice cup of tea. Oh, hello. Tea's finished and it looks like malarkey's in the offing...

Shape Your Tongue is utterly mad. Drum & bass anguished synthpop Beach Boys. From Chicago (sort of). If you were going to cruise the beaches somewhere dangerous in a two-door Range Rover, this would be the ideal soundtrack. It's too short. Again. After some pleasantly bloingy-boingly-blarp-scree synths, the band suddenly have a fit and begin to channel Chapterhouse. A brave move in the circumstances, but I understand that shoegazing lasted a lot longer in the Americas. Most odd, but not unwelcome by any measure.

Then there's an Aha-gone-D&B rework of Just Like Heaven. In the background, a Defender arcade machine is having noisy group sex with a couple of randy tubas. The thing is though, Dinosaur Jr provided us with the canonical cover version of this tune, and while I'm sure it would go down a storm with the 80s revisionists, it doesn't really provide the kick in the head that J. Mascis managed. Where have I heard that noise before? Good Lord! They've imprisoned a George Pal Martian in a box and are teaching it Earth Music! They're tricky chaps these Chicago-area bands and no mistake.

Ok, now I like this. I just can't work out how much. I don't think they're going to be my New Favourite Band the same way Icon of Coil were – some songs are a little too... Polite. Even if there are mad breaks going off everywhere like grape-shot pitched into a robot melee. On the other hand, when things get Bloody Wierd, they manage it with remarkable brio. Maybe they're like the Chaos Engine and all hell breaks loose live, yet they give themselves too long to tidy things in the studio and it all gets a little over-polished. Who can say?

On the third hand Transparent ought to go down a storm when played in the more progressive clubs. Full-on skronk-techno with atmospherics. Could do with kicking up the bass a bit in the manner of Way Out West's Intensify – that would turn it into a mad-bastard dancehall monster and no mistake. Damn fine stuff though. If you can get to listen to the tracks I've mentioned before plonking down your hard-earned, you won't go far wrong.

Contact Information:
Post: A New January, PO Box 1835, Arlington Heights, IL, 60006-1835, USA
Phone: (312) 307-3232
E-Mail: info@anewjanuary.com
Web: www.anewjanuary.com

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