Big Oil Records – June 24th
Like Joy Division and Gang of Four before them, Less Win have the knack for reflecting the kind of oppressive, industrial landscape that breeds an overwhelming desperation – before eking out a saving grace, a moment of tender perfection that feels like finding the light in the darkness.
TRUST, the Danish trio’s debut proper, is a masterstroke of murk. But its searing bleakness is punctuated by cut-aways that point the way towards a hopeful future.
There’s a familiar, bristling angst about the record – a thematic strain that characterises the crunching guitar and howled vocal cries slicing through the dense, industrial backdrop. The lolloping ‘Jealousy’ encapsulates the grinding mundanity at the heart of this rebel music – the kind served up in spades by fellow Scandinavian bands Iceage and Holograms of late. The track bleeds into a brief piano plod before a frenetic sax interlude, perhaps the most explicitly tender moment on offer. Shimmering reverb leaves the track dripping with glacial guitars, like gutter droplets showering over the sludge.
Elsewhere the album speeds along with a snarling, to-the-point brevity. There’s little in the way of excess baggage here and at a brisk 35 minutes Less Win waste no time in hanging around. Highlight ‘Where You Lay Your Hands’ pines to a certain 60s garage rock influence, while opener and lead single ‘Rituals’ is the obvious album anthem. Thematically, the track sets the tone too. A tale of revolt against tiresome repetition, of being broken by life’s monotonous grind.
For a rough-cut debut record, the sound is impressively clean and well-defined. And on repeat listens the razor-sharp, angular motifs cling on like jagged fingernails digging into the memory.
The furious struggle against angst, repression, claustrophobia, hopelessness. This is the essence of TRUST. Admittedly, a well-rehearsed hymn sheet, endearing or exhausting depending on your point of view.
But underneath the brazen vigour, Less Win demonstrate the capacity to confront these universal themes with a confidence and maturity that holds much promise.
Buy: Trust – Less Win
Words by Jack Dixon