Pariso & Kerouac
Holy Roar / Tangled Talk Records
09 May 2011
by Hugh Platt
There’s genuinely no way to talk about this release without commenting on its wonderfully-gimmicky packaging. A 5″ slice of vinyl and a credit-card shaped CD? Okay, on the one hand it’s taking hardcore’s ever-growing fetishisation of physical formats just one step further from Mysterious Guy Hardcore jerks releasing limited-run EPs on re-recorded D90 cassette tapes. On the other, it’s a novel way of drawing attention to one of the more interesting releases of the first half of 2011.
The small size of these formats, combined with the fact that it’s being split between two bands, limits each band to less than three minutes of music. Pariso approach this challenge with five concise burps of chunky hardcore. With the 40-second ‘No Hope’ representing the longest track on display from Pariso, there’s no time for fucking around on this EP – all five tracks are nasty, brutish and short. Despite these grindcore-esque track lengths though, the thicker bass sounds, combined with drum work that steers clear of tinpot snares for a hollower, tom-heavy approach, still manages to give Pariso’s brief spurts some significant heft.
Watch Pariso and Kerouac in the studio recording their split EP:
Kerouac, on the other hand, take a different approach to giving their sub-three minutes of recording space an identity all of its own. The five tracks that comprise their half of the split are actually five distinct sections of one single song, ‘Fiends’. The track itself marks a huge step forward in Kerouac’s songwriting, bristling with ideas and an ever-switching tone that despite itself never feels artificially forced into the strict time-contraints the nature of this split EP imposes.
The band demonstrate a keen ear for space and texture within the track, allowing their songwriting the breathing room it needs, and resisting the urge to cram any superfluous sound into their three minutes. Thom Denson’s vocals in particular deserve to be singled out, as he’s practically gasping with bitterness as he spits recriminations at a former lover. By far the most dynamic and powerful performance by Denson in Kerouac’s career to date, it makes ‘Fiends’ one of the most ambitious, punishing, and downright interesting tracks I’ve heard all year.
If this split EP emphasises anything, it’s that Kerouac have only just begun to scratch the surface of what they’re capable of as a band. Their debut album, Cold and Distant, Not Loving was itself a forceful statement of intent; their previous split with The Long Haul only hinted at the depth this band have shown here. If you didn’t already have your eye on Kerouac as a name to watch out for in future, then I suggest you take the time now to correct that mistake. These boys have got it, and they’ve got fucktruck more of it than any of the half-arsed hype-wagons currently doing the rounds as the visible face of UK hardcore.
Sounds Like: #UKSWELL
Top Track: Fiends
Pariso / Kerouac split EP tracklisting:
Fiends pt.1 – Skin Undone
Fiends pt.2 – Stillness and Cold
Fiends pt.3 – Sinkhole
Fiends pt.4 – Cheap Teeth
Fiends pt.5 – Dead and Gone
Kerouac are playing a whole bunch of shows over the summer, including one or two with their split EP buddies, Pariso. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll get yourselves down to a show.
Kerouac Summer 2011 tourdates
20 London Old Blue Last (supporting Narrows)
25 Kingston Fighting Cocks (with Pariso and Hospitals)
28 Southampton Joiners (with November Coming Fire, 33 and Bastions) June
12 Crushtival @ Southampton Hobbit (with Lavotchkin, Crocus, Attack! Vipers!, Run, Walk!, Pariso, Witch Cult, etc)
08 Brighton Hydrant (with La Dispute, Touche Amore, Ritual, Soul Control and Ravachol)
18 Incubate Festival @ Tillburg Little Devil (with Pariso)