With Sonic Youth in disarray and Dinosaur Jr back in action, it probably makes sense for New Zealand’s own art-noise band to make a return. It’s been over a decade since the former Christchurch band has released a new album, but by the sound of things, Bailterspace exist in their own musical world where they seem unaffected by what’s going on around them. In other words, this new album sounds very much like the old Bailterspace of the 1990s.
Now living in New York City, the band is down to two members, Alister Parker on guitar, bass and samples and Brent McLachlan on drums and samples…long-time bass player John Halvorsen moved back to NZ several years ago.
So…to the music…well, it sounds like classic Bailterspace. Parker throws down plenty of noisy, dense guitar riffs that are at once dissonant and melodic. His vocals are often buried in the mix, but occasionally they can be heard, bobbing to the aural surface like escaping bubbles from underwater.
Although Parker handles most of the bass playing duties himself, Todd Lindner sits in on three tracks. One of those is Dset, the album’s most straightforward rocker, a careening, punkish track with a sneering vocal that could only come from New York.
More typical is Polarize, an aggressive, yet dreamy track with a strangled vocal that works up a good head of steam before fading out.
Most of the tracks are relatively short and have a very live feel to them. There are moments when certain riffs or vocal inflections recall Nirvana or Joy Division or Sonic Youth, but essentially this is pure Bailterspace. Parker and McLachlan have been playing together since 1980 and have as much claim on this sound and style as anyone else.
Now, how about some New Zealand shows to come with this new album?
Click here to listen to Polarize from Strobosphere: