Gallops — Bronze Mystic (April 21, 2017) ★•→
Location: Wrexham, UK
Album release: April 21, 2017
Record Label: Blood and Biscuits
1. Actual Landscapes 2:00
2. Shakma 4:25
3. Pale Force 4:03
4. Graverobber 4:12
5. Crystal Trap 4:16
6. Meta 5:40
7. Prince O 3:59
8. Darkjewel 7:10
9. Professional Weapon 6:00
•→ Mark Huckridge (electronics, guitar, keyboards),
•→ Liam Edwards (drums)
•→ Brad Whyte (guitar, noise).
•→ Recorded at Seamus Wong, Leicester and The Silk Mill, Staffordshire.
•→ Produced by Gallops and Jamie Ward.
•→ Engineered by Jamie Ward.
•→ Mastered by Tom Woodhead at Hippocratic Mastering, Leeds.
•→ Thanks to Amedia Cymbals and House of Tone Pickups for their support.
•→ After releasing their debut album, a monstrous slab of dark experimental rock Yours Sincerely Dr. Hardcore in 2012 and at the peak of their sci~fi powers Wrexham’s Gallops soon announced they were no more and broke up in 2013. In 2016, almost three years to the day, they announced their return. “We missed it too much, basically having some time away from the band gave us a fresh perspective and made us realise that Gallops still has life in it. It just needed a nap.”
•→ After awaking from their nap, they have done so revitalised, rejuvenated and driven, creating an album that has stretched their horizons even further and is driven by the propulsive charge of electronic music. “I think the move towards a more electronic sound has been a natural progression for us. These days we tend to be more excited by the possibilities of electronic music than we do by traditional instrumentation.” That said, guitars and drums are far from strangers on the record, but instead they are used to colour and shade around the electronic centerpiece of the record. “We are very interested in marrying the real with the unreal.”
•→ After a replacement and a departure, the band are now a three~piece of Mark Huckridge (electronics, guitar, keyboards), Liam Edwards (drums) and Brad Whyte (guitar, noise). Tucked away from anything resembling the music industry, their hometown of Wrexham somehow seems emblematic of the band’s desire to do things on their own terms and operate in their own world. “We enjoy the isolation from any sort of scene.” They say, “It means we can just get on with things and not worry about fitting into anything. It’s a very working class town too, which keeps our feet on the ground and gives us a good work ethic.”
•→ Sonically the record matches the band member’s fuller sense of scope and vision; the sputtering electronics, and often~elongated guitar wails, recall the dystopian visions as depicted in the finest 1980s horror and sci~fi films. There are moments of soaring post~rock, humming dark ambience, esoteric offshoots, bubbling electronics and even the odd gargle of industrial~tinged noise. Huckridge moved next to a car park in which the throbbing sub~bass of boy racers has helped inform the rhythmic ideas for the record. And when the writing process begun the band were drummer~less and thus all the drum parts were written by non~drummers. “This is very much Gallops MKII. We intend to keep pushing things further and we are already writing ideas for our next record.”
By Joe Goggins | 18 Apr 2017 | Score: ★★★★
•→√•→ It always did feel a little premature when Gallops called it a day in 2013, just a year after the release of their debut full~length, Dr. Hardcore.
•→√•→ Happily, the Wrexham noiseniks have recognised the rashness of that decision and duly reversed it, returning as a three~piece with a record that takes the moody post~rock of their first effort and imbues it with electronics. The album’s centrepiece, the pummeling seven~minute Darkjewel, serves as its blueprint, too. The landscape change at the midpoint sums up Bronze Mystic as it moves from four minutes of thumping foreboding — think early Tim Hecker — before the brief respite of pretty, arpeggiated guitars give way to a chaotic second half, with aggressive synth spiralling over violent percussion.
•→√•→ In effect, it feels like the various components of Darkjewel are deconstructed and examined in detail elsewhere on the album; the atmosphere isn’t always one of creeping dread, with the juddering keys and languid guitars on Pale Force pointing towards something considerably more minor key, whilst the rhythm of Crystal Trap is spiky, nudging the band towards dance~punk territory. The influence of latter~day 65daysofstatic continues to weigh heavy over Gallops — you can see where they’ve taken their cues from the likes of We Were Exploding Anyway and Wild Light on Shakma and Graverobber, for instance — but they make those touchpoints their own and, elsewhere, continue to make their own lane, too.
•→√•→ Prince 0 is probably the best case in point, a glorious experiment in funk on which samples are chopped up and incorporated into the Gallops palette seamlessly. Bronze Mystic feels like genuine progression from the band and there’s a palpable sense of vitality and renewal running through it, too; the break seems to have done them a world of good, but let’s hope they don’t throw the towel back in quite so quickly this time. •→√•→ http://www.theskinny.co.uk/