Friday 14 December 2012

Neurotic Wreck - Leave Tonight: Mixtape Side 2

Album review by KevW

Unless you've been following the work of St Helens musician and producer Neurotic Wreck over the past year you may, like us, have missed out on the first half of this project altogether. So for your benefit, and if you want to start from the beginning, you can stream or get a free download of side 1 of 'Leave Tonight' from Bandcamp. That first half was released in June, but we're picking up the story with this week's 'Leave Tonight: Mixtape Side 2', another one that made use of the 12/12/12 date for its release. Describing this as a mixtape may be slightly misleading as it consists of original material by a single artist, plus the modern "mixtape" is usually an actual mix, that is a selection of songs spliced together by a DJ.

Therefore it could be best to think of this as a conventional album, yet it oddly does have the feel of a traditional mixtape in that Neurotic Wreck's work varies in many ways. The songs could be by several artists, some tracks are much better than others and even the volume isn't quite consistent the whole way through. Whether this is intentional or not only he will know. Take a song like 'Blackbird'; the muffled and quiet nature of the song give the impression that you could be listening to an old tape. It's not bad but it's not something you're likely to revisit very often. The solemn 'January', which is based around something which sounds like a harpsichord is also muffled and you wish you had the remastered CD version because it could be a great track.

Then suddenly the volume shoots up on the lo-fi fuzz-rock of 'Leave Tonight', following it is the equally fuzzy and pretty good 'Destroy (She Said)' although the volume drops by a few decibels for this one, as it does on the jittery electronica of 'Madman's Dream'. The spectre of witch house hangs over 'Keep This Together' and 'Failing Light', whereas the 80s-influenced noisy, synth-pop of 'On That Hillside' is a highlight. The overall sound is that of a home recording, which is what this is, and it is a mix in many ways, mostly style, quality and volume. Having recently dug out some of my old mixtapes and given them their first outing for a few years I found that most of them did sound a bit like 'Leave Tonight' in a lof of ways. So I guess for Neurotic Wreck this is job done.

Neurotic Wreck's website

Stream or download the album

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