The Long Haul
06 February 2012
by Alex Andrews
For those who’ve waited patiently as #UKSWELL has cluttered their Twitter feed and cropped up on ironic t-shirt designs – biding their time until the day comes when there’s a British band genuinely worth getting excited about, The Long Haul may well be the answer you’ve been looking for.
Spearheading the tongue-in-cheek movement/hashtag/slogan/catch-it-all term that’s never really looked much further beyond the rosters of Holy Roar and Tangled Talk, the Southampton four-piece made the decision last year to solider on after the departure of frontman Curtis Lightbown-Smith. With Harry Fanshawe now manning the mic, The Long Haul are ready to unveil a real beast of a record.
Wrapped up in five tracks, the band manage to simultaneously capture the rumbling, relentless sprit of Rollins-era Black Flag (more of that, please), the technical heaviness of Converge (though Fanshawe is more Frank Carter than J. Bannon) and a forward-thinking inventiveness to keep you well on your toes.
On Debtors, The Long Haul demonstrate not only an enviable technical ability but a staggering abundance of ideas. Powered by a thunderous rhythm section, not once do they fall back into a generic chug part. Instead they plough on with determination; regular breaking things down, with the guitars spiralling off into fresh and exciting territory. On the five minute ‘Blank Canvas’, the band kills the pace and make their way through a deviously melodic, slow burning crawl, with Fanshawe venting his paranoia through lines such as: “If they don’t come near me, I won’t approach them / There are things that happen here and nobody knows them.”
Whether The Long Haul can make the transition to a full-length remains to be seen. But as things stand, this EP remains a fantastic example of how heavy hardcore can be made interesting again.
Sounds Like: Converge, Kerouac, Botch
Standout Tracks: Blank Canvas, Puppets and Wires, Debtors