Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Quick Hits: New Tongues

March 6, 2013


The intersection of post-rock, post-hardcore and punk has often been one of interest to me. It’s a hard thing to nail, especially since The Felix Culpa pretty much established the bar at nigh-on unachievable levels. But New Tongues offer a strong new voice into the mix.

The awesome, DIY title of We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For points back to the era that the band wants to invoke, as well as the practice of listing their album on Bandcamp by “Side A” and “Side B.” (They have an alternate listing for two singles.) Since Bandcamp streams to the next song automatically, it’s more of an aesthetic appeal than a semantic one; still, that means something to me.

The tunes are a gruff mix of distorted bass, pounding drums, shouted vocals and angular guitars. That definition sounds like a lot of bands, but New Tongues put it together with a great control over the atmospheres that they create. They use space, rhythms and distinct song sections to really create the feelings that they want. The band relies on these songwriting skills instead of on walls of distortion, ferocious screaming or virtuosic instrumental performances. This is a band, not a project of one individual person. The arpeggiated chords that open “Old Mouths” fit perfectly with the grumbling bass and precise drums. It feels organic and real, which is a feeling that I lose a lot in post-hardcore.

There aren’t very many singalongs here, if any; that’s not the point of this album. However, it is a testament to the grit and guts of three people (listed old-school style: J. Nardy, S. Johnson, M. Quinn) who know what they’re about and do it well. If you’re into post-hardcore that leans to the post- side instead of the -hardcore side, you should check out New Tongues’ We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For.

Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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