gig reviews

Negative Pegasus - Looming

By Louis Hessey-Antell

Negative Pegasus

First things first: this band knows how to title their albums. When the first song on your debut (‘How it Happens’) is almost entirely a relentless stab on every beat, the word ‘Looming’ is as apt as it is concise. I say a relentless stab, but there is an evolutionary nature to how the track progresses. While Negative Pegasus may possess a militantly minimalist attitude easier to admire than to love, this song does make time for interesting vocals and musicianship as it descends into a frighteningly lively abyss.

I mentioned evolution in the previous paragraph, and it appears to be a method this band is rather fond of. There is a lack of sudden chord changes, or instantly shattered dynamics. ‘Ottoman Silver’ is built upon a simple beat; a cockily staccato boom, boom boom, boom boom type rhythm. It’s not a hook designed to get your feet moving, but rather a base colour which can be embellished upon by other elements of the spectrum. By the time it has reached its most dramatic moments, one feels as though all the failed promises of Metal Machine Music have suddenly come good. The chaotic, steely scrapings force their way into a form of beauty; albeit one that is very much in the ear of this beholder.

Things aren’t so inspired all the way through unfortunately. ‘A Single Fuck’ is the name of one song, and it also describes how much I care for the actual piece. It takes the previously fruitful noisy, anarchic route into the self-parody that was always ‘looming’. I’m sure it was fun making all the crazy sounds, and manipulating the production until loud things were muted and vice-versa. However, I can’t really justify this kind of indulgence. I’m sure something of equal sonic worth could be achieved by giving a chimp a Casio keyboard and a megaphone.

Probably the most urgent and exciting song is ‘Psychic Energy’. It really shows the band utilizing their skills in hammering you with the best of Kraut-punk, post-punk, hardcore-punk, electro-punk….okay I’m now making up genres. But alongside every adjective I say here, I feel I have to say punk. It’s not the Sex Pistols; but if punk is about being different and confrontational then here we are. ‘Visitation’ is similarly hard-edged but less frantic. It lets the vocals (curiously, but effectively, right at the back of the mix) create a real extra layer. They are emphatically shouted through reverb and distortion, leaving the impression that a very angry David Byrne could have popped in an impromptu guest bit.

I do appreciate a band that go all out when it comes to creating an interesting sound and also attempt to annoy the neighbours at the same time. They are on their way to being decent advocates of such a quest. I do wish they would stop with the strange-noise-as-whole-song mentality though. Then it would feel like a much stronger album.

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