Release Date: Apr 1, 2016
Record label: Rocket Recordings
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
There’s something odd about the way in which music like the throbbing primordial noisy rock Gnod employ on Mirror gets labelled variably as ‘punishing’ or ‘brutal’. At the worst of times it’s a glorious and triumphant sound; a shot of dense energy I find it hard to describe as anything less than utterly magnificent. In such an environment as modern Britain, anything other than shouting gets you bloody nowhere, which is probably what’s driven Gnod to the brute-headed tunnel vision of Mirror.
Nothing if not prolific, Salford’s favourite Krautrock connoisseurs (let’s ignore The Fall’s I Am Damo Suzuki for the moment) follow-up last year’s triple Infinity Machines LP with a release more relatively acquainted with brevity. Yet Mirror is no less arresting; three tracks of heavy, tangential, sprawling space-rock indebted to the raw synergies of recording in just three days, with minimal overdubs. The Mirror – at just under eight minutes, the briefest of tracks herein – perpetually builds on a lysergic blueprint, surrounded by its own sonic barbed wire.
“There’s too many faces inside the mirror” is shouted, strained and twinned with a deceptively lulling bass as Gnod’s latest release opens. “And I cannot decide which one I want to be today.” The sharp descent from coolly post-punk experimentation into a perverse and discordant war march matches this surreal declaration in unpredictability and violence.Manchester collective Gnod have had dalliances with brute force before. But here on The Mirror they trample off the spectrum and into weird, uncharted territory, marking a severe departure far outside the boundaries of the already-enigmatic krautrock previously put to record.The Mirror builds piece by piece into towering hysteria.
Formed in 2007, as more of an arts collective than a band, Gnod managed to add true innovative substance to the unlikely swell of pysche in the North West. As their membership fluctuated, so the course and vision of their musicality continued to sway. Today they seem settled as a four piece, albeit one whose musical stance has changed drastically even since their gargantuan 2015 outing, Infinity Machines.