The Narrows – Eve of the Invasion

Picture this: the streets of Manchester are empty in a temperate Sunday morning. The silence is deafening. Then, an army of faceless humanoids, all with an eye instead of a face, march through the streets, like murderous Autons on a killing spree.

The weapon isn’t some sci fi ray, but a stream of consciousness enveloped into a well-structured musical death ray. The name of this army is The Narrows, and their infectious sounds will convert you to their cause, which, if you read their lyrics, will sink you into the dark recesses of humanity (think the economy and politics).

From the first notes of ‘Able danger’, the mix of analogue and digital is clear and present. ‘We invent enemies’ ups the ante, slightly paying tribute to The Cooper Temple Clause‘s Kick up the fire and let the flames break loose, fully pushing the combination of sounds to create a mossy atmosphere where the only light to salvation is a punchy bass.

The speed of attack varies. From full blown blitzkrieg (‘I make my car crash’) to punches in slow motion (‘The Falling Man’ – superb!, ‘Counter Transference’), The Narrows have a wide palette that although always delivering in chiaroscuro, varies the composition. There are moments where even all becomes cyberised, like ‘There are ghosts in these machines’, with the glitchier goblins overruning the studio, leaving only their widows to lament the loss of loved ones (‘Boiler Room Girl’).

Whoa, ‘Boiler Room Girl’. I know this is completely out of left field, but the song makes me think of Frodus‘ ‘The Earth isn’t humming’. Not in the musical style, but in the mood it delivers. Although Occam’s razor would explain why this is my fave of the album, I’m more inclined to the theory that the song is dreamy and full of atmospheres, two things that I really enjoy in music.

‘German children’ is an interesting way to close the album. It’s a prog song in length and structure, but the method of delivery relishes in ones and zeroes that are so minute and pressed together, it almost feels like an analogue waveform. Prog is very well represented in ‘Zapruder’, including a very fuzzy guitar that dresses your ears with big collared shirts and funky trousers.

There seems to be an air of dread in the rock waves that The Narrows transmit from their antenna-like array of instruments. Is it politics? Is it the dichotomy of having a fight within yourself between conflicting ideas? Whatever it really is, The Eve of Invasion mixes deftly prog rock, space rock and electronica sounds. Maybe that’s all you really need to know.

Heck, if you miss both Frodus (in their more ambient moments, not the hardcore ones) and The Cooper Temple Clause (think ‘New Toys’), The Narrows are here to fill that void of atmospheric rock with electronic shenanigans.

Words: Sam J. Valdés López

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