Home Read Albums Of The Week: Neckbolt | (dream dump)

Albums Of The Week: Neckbolt | (dream dump)

The southwestern oddballs shove their dirty noise-rock fingers into your psychedelic peanut butter — and then dare you to lick them clean. You will — and you'll love it.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “With members in Austin and Oklahoma City, Neckbolt conjure a psychedelic strain of noise-rock — what one outlet called “the thunderous punch of Lightning Bolt with the squealing psychedelia of early Flaming Lips… a hallucinatory frenzy of fuzz and tension.”

While the quintet were a standout at last year’s No Coast Fest alongside Metz and KEN mode, Neckbolt guitarist Benjamin Krause claims he is “uninterested in the masculine sound that can be associated with noise-rock” and is instead “interested in exploring sounds associated with hypnagogic residue and full spectrums of emotion.” Indeed, Neckbolt belong on the freakiest fringes of the genre, amongst the likes of Boredoms, Arab on Radar and Osees.

Their hypnotic single Fung Wah or Lucky Star skates between euphoria and panic. Vocalist James Roo reveals the song tells the true story of his first sleep-paralysis incident, riding a bus from New York to Boston. With its murky, clanging momentum, the song paints that picture vividly; we are right there with Roo, trapped in that dream. Though replete with corrosive tones that would make a young Steve Albini proud, the song pulses with a spirit of wonder, not brute force. Krause credits compilation album Pop Makossa: The Invasive Dance Beat of Cameroon 1976-1984 for inspiring the song’s groove.

As the album title suggests, (dream dump) is rooted almost entirely in the realm of dreams. When asked about the meanings behind each song, Roo gives answers such as “it’s a dream about a tree” and “it’s a dream about trash and ghosts.”

Photo by Blake Studdard.

(dream dump) is the followup to 2021’s debut, Midwestern Drawl. While that album was the brainchild of Roo and Krause, the new album is an equal collaboration between all five of Neckbolt’s current members: Roo, Krause, guitarist Kilyn Massey, bassist Bill Indelicato and drummer Brent Hodge. Krause states: “This record has been a complete collaborative process across a few states, in multiple studios, over several months. This is a collection of five points of view. We see this project as some amorphous entity. Neckbolt is not as ‘finite’ as most other bands, but rather an umbrella of understanding and free will.”

He gives this glimpse into the recording process: “This album was written and recorded over the course of nine months, from the end of 2021 to mid-2022. Everyone in the group is some level of ‘engineer,’ so it was easy to track this wherever and whenever. The bulk of this record was recorded in living rooms and bedrooms and practice spaces when the ideas came up. We record something that we think is an idea and that ends up as the through line of the song. Every single song evolves in a way that is unexpected.”

Sonically, the songs are as densely layered as the subconscious states they depict. Amidst peals of guitar, distorted bass, and driving rhythms, hidden treasures lie. Krause states: “There is a ton of ‘ear candy’ recorded with room mics or computer mics or phones. For example, we used a wooden pencil and the top of a scented candle as a placeholder for some of the auxiliary percussion on one song, to capture the rhythm that we would eventually track with real percussion. After a hundred rounds of sending this song back and forth, this ‘wood block’ sound ended up being ingrained in the song and we really didn’t want to mess with it. So that’s what you hear. This kind of stuff is all over the record.”


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