Kerouac / The Long Haul
Tangled Talk Records
07 March 2011
by Andy Parker
Has there ever been a better time in the history of the UK underground than what we’ve seen in the last 5 years? True, we’ve seen many spectacular acts explode then implode, but they burned fast and burned hard. Now two of our favourite bands of last year have come together for a wonderful slab of 10″ grey vinyl – courtesy of Tangled Talk Records – and they’re out to wreck your lives.
Kerouac’s long-player, Cold and Distant, Not Loving, was one of our top releases of last year, leaving us salivating for more. The news of a split release to follow their debut with a split with their labelmates, The Long Haul, has given us trouser tents for months now so to see it finally come to fruition is a delectable wonder.
Our opening tracks comes via The Long Haul, with ‘Dead Soul/Endless Drag’. Quite the chameleon, it shifts between a grizzled British-sounding snarl (akin to early Gallows), to a Mastodon-esque chug. What makes this doubly baffling is that there’s just a single guitarist amongst the ranks of The Long Haul. Lewis Johns layers and blends his guitar work to such a degree that it’s the equal of anything dreamt up by either Bill Kelliher or Brent Hinds.
Kerouac’s contributions build on and expand upon the promise shown in Cold and Distant, Not Loving. Sporting a sound they likes of which I haven’t heard for a long time, to describe ‘Porcelain’ as passionate and heartfelt doesn’t come close to the performance provided throughout by vocalist Thom Denson. It reminded me of a time when a little known band Norma Jean first took a trip to UK shores with their dear friends Mewithoutyou. The post-punk attack is very similar and acts as the perfect closing note.
Tangled Talk Records have genuinely upped the game for small UK labels over the past 12 months. That they’ve picked up new and exciting acts such as the two on display here, and provided them with a platform for records like this deserves recognition. This split is perfectly balanced, with the differences between The Long Haul and Kerouac only acting to heighten the realisation that while they might be from the same place in time and life, they offer alternate approaches to the question of UK hardcore in 2011.
Sounds Like: Mewithoutyou, Shudder To Think, Maths.
Top Tracks: Dead Soul/Endless Drag, Young Wounds.
Kerouac / The Long Haul split EP tracklisting:
The Long Haul
Dead Soul/Endless Drag
I Owe Some People The World But I Owe You Shit