Odin is for suckersHaving ping-ponged an argument between both sides of my brain, I've decided upon my theme of writing for this month - I'm going to just talk about the albums of 04 that most publications avoided talking about altogether for January, and then start talking about 'new' or 'rediscovered' stuff from all years beyond that - I mean, I've been sick, my head's been under rocks the size of planets, I don't even know the names of any new bands except Controller Controller and Whitey. Are they new? I don't even know. Anyway, by Jan 31st, I hope to have covered my top ten of 2004, in no particular order, in some sort of detail. You just had Q And Not U. Now it's time for some power. The Iron Point by Noxagt (nox-act).
Viola, bass guitar and drums. They make it seem so natural and unforced, so varied - one minute, you're half-awake in a dream of an enchanted glade, or more appropriate for their Norwegian homestead, a fjord - and the next, a dense nightmare of whining winds across an apocalyptic wasteland. Load Records, their alma mater, seem to have stumbled upon the perfect band to continue in their line of 'straight-edge psychedelia' - bands that aren't fucked up, are lucid and regular guys - who make music to drop out to - though the rambling assault of a Noxagt song is different to that of say, labelmates Lightning Bolt - Noxagt reference The Jesus Lizard and the spiralling columns of ecstatic amelodicism of a live Sonic Youth show than say, Slayer and Ruins.
This long player, their second, even has a cohesive structure to the presentation - rather than say - 'here are nine slabs of noisy viola driven rockulism' - there's a defined opener - the steady 'Naked In France', which drives you in on the back of a twisted polka beat into the three and half minutes of pure 'what the fuck?' that comprises the savage, joyous and intense 'Blood Thing.' But, like the band that found a few more strings to their bow, they let off the gas again in terms of volume, and the lulling, ship-in-a-fog drone of 'Acasta Gneiss' makes its sound in the dark. From here until track six ('Thurmaston'), the highs and lows of Noxagt are in, the colour and the shade - the vengeful fury of a hyper-distorted and overdriven viola playing against the sound and fury contained in the rhythm section - furious mathematical runs, then brought back into four-to-the-floor rhythms, bracing cymbal work - and every single track is of pure excitement. Cold analysis isn't really paying off. They are a band that excite the aural receptors with music that makes you want to get up and indulge the destructive urge.
Hagbard Heien, the grandfather of one of the band, shows up to sing the dirgey Norwegian traditional song 'Kling No Klokka', and the record finishes with a cover of obscure psych band Pearls Before Swine's 'Regions of May' - completely bastardized, like the band themselves. Unfortunately tarred with the metal brush, perhaps by association than by design - this is a murky, intelligent and phenomentally energetic record made by men in their prime, and is an absolute joy to listen to. They do things to a human body that a hundred NME features couldn't do in a hunded years - and yes, that's a cheap dig at an anachronistic paper, and yeah, I'm pissed because I couldn't get a job for them. Buy Noxagt. Buy The Iron Point today.
'The Hebbex' MP3