Monday, November 11, 2013
Industrial Park on Toxic Pop Records
I think a black and white photo of a massive empty building should absolutely be all you need to illustrate the dark, hazy layers from the Portland duo, Industrial Park. Not a sign of a single human being and hulking square shapes fallen into ruin. Sounds like Salford, England in the late '70s, the home to pioneers of post punk, Joy Division - not that you should jump right to that comparison. From what I remember Portland didn't have vast neighborhoods of empty warehouses but why would I have been wandering arounf that part of town int he first place? Industrial Park has played with another great dark duo, Blessure Grave, who are actually still releasing records. Weirdly enough I'm happy to revisit these sounds maybe because some of the first bands that I listened to on the back of the bus were Bauhaus, Killing Joke and Siouxsie. There's distant echoes of that stuff here with more of a focus on thick heavy layers of guitar and Emma's breathy vocals.
A-Side's "Echoes" rises up with a pounding primitive beat from Nick Makanna under Emma's bleak incessant layers of distortion. She might have a similar mysterious vibe as Siouxsie but stays further back in this mix bouncing around the hard concrete walls of that manufactured space, hardly ever rising above the thick sustained guitar. This whole track has a huge cavernous sound, impossible it's just the two of them build this ominous packed fog. Like The Big Sleep, they creep up on you, all of a sudden it's a smothering sound, how did you find yourself in the middle of this. This hypnotic tempo oppressively bears down in an unassuming way, but that's how they get you. It's not interested in tricks or trends in fidelity, they get on with the business of crushing hopes and dreams under the guise of shoegaze, which in this case sounds powerful because it's going to bulldoze right over you. Forget that sweet English psych pop fog, this is the thing that fought off everything else to take over that building for itself.
B-Side's "May" opens on solitary washed out notes that are place holders for a massive blow out that's looming with heavier echo on her vocal this time. Suddenly they sound more optimistic but it could be these higher register melodies, they're moving faster and the lyric feels more hopeful. Repeated and pounding, they really lock on to a groove and subdue it across their already plateaued sound here. Huge booming drum hits and throbbing guitar further prove that a duo just works harder to fill in the gaps. They're not content to leave a single kilohertz on the EQ untouched or a breath left between layers. Hold it - be glad it's just a single.
I'd love to hear their full length EP on Desire Records, on a crazy smeared black and white pressing but it's an overseas label and I'm sure the euro doesn't convert in our favor. Even more reason to pick this white vinyl up from Toxic Pop Records.
Check out A-Side's track, "Echoes" below: