Oblong : Briliant ... Gwd30.05.2017
This is an album that fizzes out of the speakers with rare energy and animation.
There is a clear heritage to it - from the echo of a PiL bass line that opens the angered thrash of S'Dim Ots Da Fi, to the ever-present sharp guitar, that repeatedly prompts memories of Andy Gill's clamorous playing on Gang of Four's Entertainment, this is a post-punk album in its very bones. Oblong seemingly reach back further for inspiration too - the repeated, edgy, clipped chords of Hold On could have come from the hand of Wilko Johnson in 1975.
But what marks it out is the simple zest in the music.
Reduce Briliant ... Gwd to its essential elements and you have an exuberant rush of snarling guitar meeting agitated, visceral rhythms. It is a dense, edge of town and nocturnal album - the squalling guitar framing blank vocals can't help but place it there - although underneath the splendid uproar there is effective songwriting and joyful spirit in spades, as clearly demonstrated in the freewheeling magic of 50 Miles on Empty.
In total there are seven new tracks on this release, and five remixed from those already released last year. There is a clutch of standouts - S'Dim Ots Da Fi, Un a Dim, Post-Punk World and the reworked Tunguska amongst them - but it is the sheer exhilaration of the whole set that is impressive.
There is the odd moment of quiet, but they are always temporary - even when you think you have found calm, such as when the album is rounded off with the gentler psychedelic tone of Destination Zombietown, it proves deceptive - as that song memorably blurs into a final elating storm of guitar noise.
What does it all mean? Oblong have right the elements in place to be a great band, and this debut - with its melodic songs and wired, urban rock sound - is their first step to a full post-punk fuelled musical insurrection. They are obviously compelled to create by how much they love what has gone before, but from all that influence they have welded together something absolutely their own.
Oblong have released the album of the year so far, no doubt.
OBLONG I Tunguska