You know that feeling when you personally hype something up so much that you worry the final outcome might not live up to your expectations? Well this is not one of those times. I am, of course, talking about the debut EP, RIBS, from Newcastle’s very own doom band: Natley’s Whore’s Kid Sister.
“Isn’t that a character from Catch 22?” Well, yes it is. But it is also the name adopted by these five musicians who play music that is suited to your more sinister side. The music on this EP isn’t nice, it isn’t friendly, and it isn’t particularly cheery. But, that is the charm of it, the core that makes it so utterly engaging. In the most primitive form, NWKS are a five piece rock group. However, as soon as you look past that bland description you will see something much more. A behemoth of a band that somehow manages to make noise with such brute force you’re left wondering how these five people can create such a thing.
For me, their self described “sludge-pop” is a massive batch of self indulgence. It isn’t going to be for everyone, but nothing is. It’s exactly the type of sound I’ve been looking for, but which not many people can get exactly right. This is the prime example of how being independent and not following suit by creating something under a bizarre, barely real genre can reflect just how good some music can be. This is real, it’s heartfelt and it somehow feels tangible and cerebral. With this EP, I don’t feel like I’m merely consuming a product, I feel like I am part of it. I feel like it wants me to be engaged, to be focused, and to be engrossed within it.
The same five tracks have been repeating in my mind ever since I first heard the opening guitar riff. I’ve had the time to fully engross myself in the EP and given myself time to fairly judge it without believing my own hype. In all honesty, it is a brilliant record. Opener ‘Just Below The Ribs’ has to be my favourite. Beginning with a slow, pulsating guitar riff the tension builds up with droney vocals and short blasts of low-end ambience. Then, the song becomes fully formed. Primal drumming accompanies slow, overdriven guitars to create a soundscape both terrifying and beautiful. It feels both precise and out of control at the same time. The atmosphere that this track creates is something to admire.
Throughout the whole EP, this atmosphere is upheld. Whether it is tracks such as ‘babies’ or ‘regards, bison’, every song has it’s place within the dark and dingy atmosphere created by this EP. It feels not like a collection of songs, but a whole concept. This is why it works so well. Just listen to ‘Man Outside Cumberland Arms’, a track that is simply a monologue of the aforementioned male accompanied by the band’s sound. A simple, yet frightening speech is played for the whole eight minute track, during which the band give it some ethereal, bone shaking support. Again, heavy guitar riffs are present, accompanied by that ever nauseating ambient drone. It doesn’t stick to their formula, but there are definitely some elements present.
Overall, this is one hell of an EP and isn’t going to be one you quickly overlook. I for one am going to be listening to it religiously for some time to come. It’s due out it January and will be released both digitally and on CD. I strongly recommend that you invest in a copy.