Wednesday, 24 July 2019

The Neighbourhood Strange - Russian Spy / Many Secrets (7"/CD)

The Salisbury psych-rockers are back with a single about recent hometown events.

Without wishing to make light of the seriousness of dosing someone with Novichok, at the two minute forty seconds into 'Russian Spy' there's a discordant guitar break which attempts to render in musical form the disorientating effects of the life-threatening nerve-agent. Undoubtedly safer than imbibing, it highlights The Neighbourhood Strange's growing confidence, as well as signalling the healthy state of modern psychedelic rock. With a melody that draws from eastern European folk and a brash swagger that's distinctly a “British-dudes-with-guitars” thing, 'Russian Spy' is modern musical reportage at its finest, from a band uniquely placed to commentate on such matters.

On the flipside of the vinyl is 'Many Secrets', an equally enjoyable if more trad Brit-pop affair; guitar-driven but with a big chorus. Vocalist Marcus Turner turns in a performance that's both melodic and punkish, while the band sound like they've mastered the art of ensemble playing, countless gigs having helped gel and hone their collective sound.

If the two tracks on the vinyl single aren't enough the CD version contains both 'Russian Spy' and 'Many Secrets' along with an extra three tracks. 'Mary Mary' has a neat quiet/loud dynamic and errs towards the band's West-Coast garage rock side. 'Walk On Water' has a languid, rolling feel, with plenty of space for organ runs and swells. 'Desert Sand' bookends nicely with 'Russian Spy', it's a short instrumental interspersed with occasional vocal shouts and encouragements. It too has a melodic feel that comes from somewhere between Eastern Europe and the Silk Road. Packed with plenty of surfy guitar, kind of like Dick Dale meets the Arabian Knights.

If you want to catch the band playing live, they have a hometown gig at the Market Square, Salisbury on August 23rd. Or if you can't make it check out this rather fine disc instead.

Click here for The Neighbourhood Strange's website.
Click here for The Neighbourhood Strange on Facebook.
Click here for The Neighbourhood Strange on Bandcamp.

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