Monday, October 13, 2014

Narrow Head

Put in another quarter in the genre revival merry-go-round and we arrive at 1990s alternative rock / post-hardcore / shoegaze. The fact that there has been a surge in interest for the genre is fascinating in itself. In large part because the bands that constitute the genre are very good. When you tackle a subgenre like NYHC or 80s USHC the target mark slides downward and success is easier to achieve. When you tackle 1990s alternative rock / post-hardcore / shoegaze, the mark becomes far more difficult to hit. Sailing on with this genre means you're chasing bands like Failure, My Bloody Valentine & Hum. These aren't bands that recorded some scratch demos and called it a day. These are bands that innovated the game and carved their place in the edifice of time. Pursuing them is not an easy task. Recently many hardcore kids have attempted to traverse into this sphere with mixed results. One band that has done well in their acoustic excursion is Texas' Narrow Head.

Narrow Head is Dallas' Jay Chary, Ryan Hughes, and Keaton Khonsari and Houston's Jacob Duarte. They are a young band, both in sound and in life. Their debut record, Far Removed, is an understanding of growth. Far Removed wears its influences on its sleeve, all the while being conscious of where they want to go. Rather than do what most bands who branch out do and overcompensate by simply ripping off their influences, Narrow Head approaches their output right. They don't try to exceed beyond their understanding or their ability. In doing so, the band takes their influences and make it their own. The end product is Far Removed and, unlike most debut releases, it is not a 'figuring stuff out' release as much as it is a 'standing on my own two feet' one. The problem with most bands that branch out is that they spend the first release (and sometimes second) ripping off their influences that they don't really discover an identity until later. Narrow Head displays a remarkable learning curve. They have an identity already, now it is just a matter of where they want to take themselves. A lot of bands will spend a lifetime chasing the specters of legendary bands that are merely shadows. Narrow Head is simply being Narrow Head and they know who they are. Far Removed is not a glorified tribute album or a homage to their heroes.. it is just a Narrow Head record and it hangs in there with their heroes as opposed to simply chasing them. Enjoy.

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