On the tenth or so listen through of Microwave‘s Death Is A Warm Blanket and I’m still not sure what to categorize this as, or whether it’s devoid of any categorization. This refuses to fit into a box, instead it revolts against the notion, hissing, spitting, scratching and clawing at your eyes, blazing with a razor edge sharpness of roaring defiance. So, why should you care? Here’s 10 reasons, dive in.
“I’m looking for something that says, ‘dad likes leather!‘” This regret-filled opener is built around this ramshackle acoustic guitar, heavily, off-kilter drumbeats and Nathan Hardy’s scratched, whisky-ravaged voice. It sounds like the brutal aftermath of a party and trying to piece back together the events that have unfolded; which fits the scrawled and scribbled mangle of guitars that assault the senses through the hoarse vocal rasps. It’s barbed and panicked and leaves you wanting more, flowing nicely into….
Float To The Top
…the raging blast of energy that is Float To The Top – god, this absolutely shreds, hard. First off, it absolutely slinks through the door, on this dreamy, wavering bass throb, before it becomes something completely monstrous and bleak. Those missing Brand New, will find some comfort in Microwave’s sound on this little ditty; familiarity through a huge crunching, overlapping, shout-a-long chorus of despair and grief, (“you give blood, then you give up on yourself…“) coupled with these grimy, disenchanted, hate-filled riffs. “My friends don’t swim/we float to the…” cuts off the ending so suddenly and with the last few seconds acting as a solemn, steady beat of a heart than then abruptly stops is a nice touch.
This is the (leather) daddy. I imagine an absolute rager in the live environment, this makes you want to twirl your air guitar around your head and bring it crashing down through something. Angular, angry, seething grunge-punk noise fed through the filter of savage emo blood-letting and Bleach-era noise. The distorted, ugly vocals from Hardy, alongside the throat-shredding backing screams bring to mind Tell All Your Friends if it was on fire and spent all its time listening to Sub Pop noise bands instead of drawing hearts around everything. Fucking brutal, especially the video of a decomposing fox, because, you know, why not?
The Brakeman Has Resigned
*Checks this isn’t Poison The Well* Huh. There’s a lot going on here, cramming more ideas into 2 minutes and 33 seconds than most bands manage over an entire album, the track this runs on is unsteady and switching to say the least. From gruff metalcore chest-beating screams, it smashes through the barrier into Deep Elm-emo, exploding in a barrage of twisted, noisy atmospherics and scrawling feedback that vomits itself into…
…a scribble of scuzzy, reverberating electronic scrawls and chopping keys. Hardy’s vocals, and indeed the fuzzing guitars, smack heavy of White Pony-era Deftones and Chino’s whispered and breathless delivery. In fact, if you had told me this had fallen off of a Deftones album, I wouldn’t be surprised at all. The chorus is delightfully unsettling, instructing the listener to “kill off all your heroes/destroy whatever makes you feel unsafe” and gives the impression of ridding yourself of all unpleasantness, as well as everything in your life, backed by this weighty, destructive bludgeon of impenetrable alt-metal oblivion.
The beginning of Pull smacks so hard of Long Island emo it will send a shiver down your spine. It’s maudlin and bursting with those real feelings, especially on the screaming chorus where the words “the best days are when I know that it’s over” are just audible through the incandescent rage and boiling turmoil. As the song reaches this uncomfortably loud finish, the line “you don’t have to be happy to be loved” is almost lost in this wall of ugly, tortured feedback, yet still hangs in there, grim and defiant.
Love’s Will Tear Us Apart
The not even a minute acoustic strum of not a Joy Division cover is laced with morose longing and raw, almost missing hope. It smacks of the delicate and fragile squeeze of Lonely the Brave, and feels oddly in place, despite it’s sudden change of direction to the zig-zag scribble of sounds that preceded it.
Fucking hell, the riffs on that. The heft of this, is like Superheaven and Truckfighters driving a pair of tanks straight through a wall into your face. That scraping, bending, grunge-edge, that throttled, gargling bass tone and those detuned guitars are utterly glorious and ferocious. It’s like an extended jam session in the closing minute, and you know that Microwave are just having the best time and could play that section on and on and on until their hands started to blister and bleed. Also, a very, VERY, Brand New video.
There’s heaps of melancholy on the despondent pop-punk-lite Carry; “things are built to be broken/thrown and piled away” croons Hardy, and the line “do you murder me in your lucid dreams?/Oh god I hope you do” is laced with self-loathing and spite, it really cements the tone of the second half of this record from all the rage and savagery before, it becomes this lost, emotionally tattered and broken wreckage of songs.
Part Of It
This aches. This whole album aches, but not as much as this final track. The darkness laid bare on this is almost blinding in its comforting misery. “In a perfect world/I don’t think I would sing/my voice would shrink in peaceful atrophy” states Hardy, delving deeper into this gloom and this grit that has laid the foundations for Death Is A Warm Blanket – it’s a stunning, choking, wrought and heart-breaking end to a deeply personal and fragile collection of raw, seething emotions.
This is a masterpiece is writing some of the most devastating, punchy, anthemic and scathing rock songs of the year, a sweating rollercoaster of passionate turmoil and tense, nerve-racking remorse. Stream/purchase the superb Death Is A Warm Blanket by Microwave from Pure Noise here.