Review ASIWYFA's Debut Album

'this is the latest bunch of Neurosis worshipping batch of instru-metal warriors. Or so you’d think'

Opening with the military march of footsteps - this isn’t Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation - this is the latest bunch of Neurosis worshipping batch of instru-metal warriors. Or so you’d think. A few minutes into “Set Guitars To Kill” and it because more than obvious And So I Watch You From Afar aren’t your typical instrumental rock band in that they don’t try for the slow build from loud to soft, they’re more song-based, with hooks. Especially “Set Guitars To Kill” which has an upbeat riff that wouldn’t be out of place rocking out in the background of some Saturday night sports programme while horses and cars zoom past, goals are scored and some poor fucker gets punched in the face. This is a song that’ll be in your head for days, the perfect way to start an album or to close a gig.

Having first come across And So I Watch You From Afar in the live setting, it was interesting to hear how they sound and record. There’s a lot less of the sudden, uncomfortable shifts into spacious Red Sparrows territory on the record. The songs seem to flow that little bit better here, as if they can shift gears better in the studio. Musically throughout ASIWYFA head in quite a few directions, making sure to try a bit of everything to see what sticks. There’s plenty of jabbing bass riffs, off the wall sections and big stomping, freak out rock moments, crossed with some poppy parts and quiet moments. There are also laser guitars at one point. “Don’t Waste Time Doing Things You Hate” gets all 65daysofstatic at the climax, before turning in a football ground level of excitement and a short solo that’s lifted directly from Green Day’s “Hitchin’ A Ride.”

If you’re looking for someplace to start dig your claws into “Set Guitars To Kill” or either of the brilliantly titled “If It Ain’t Broke, Break It” and “TheseRIOTSareJUSTtheBEGINNING” where ASIWYFA prove that they don’t think along the same lines as other instrumental rock/metal bands. You get the feeling that they’ve just got so many ideas they want to nail down that something had to give to make room in the songs, and it ended up being the vocals.

Ireland is producing some good odd-rock at the moment in the weird shapes of Adebisi Shank and Bats. Here’s another name you can add to that list. A good strong debut, that’s not perfect, but certainly worth keeping an ear open for.

- Ken McGrath,