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The Goslings - Grandeur of Hair

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Artist: The Goslings

Album: Grandeur of Hair

Label: Archive Recordings

Review date: Nov. 6, 2006

The fairly gaudy Edvard Munch silk-screen on Grandeur of Hair, the latest release by noise musicians The Goslings, may be the least attractive release to date by the Archive label. Primarily known for its limited-run pressings of live shows and concert one-offs by better-known noise bands, Archive routinely commissions painters and collage artists to personalize copies of its records (an effective though incidental counter-offensive to discourage file sharing). Whoever tackled this album is certainly familiar with the genre; the pink-and-black color theme here closely resembles the Load or Constellation jacket esthetic, both labels on which The Goslings would find sympathetic mates.

A far as the music: blessed, exhilarating, hell, even joyous. Leslie and Max Soren are just a two-person band with several guest drummers in tow, but that doesn't stop them from sounding like a larger 'tet; a massive wall of fuzz blaring over cacophonous percussion, vibrant with bristling energy. If Cage's minimalist noise compositions were illustrations of the death of divinity, then The Goslings sound ready to throw a party in that absence.

To their credit, The Goslings eschew some of the sloppiness that makes some of the Load crowd come off as puerile. The meticulousness of each track evinces a tamed, polished energy. Think an orchestrated Boris jam, or a gleeful Khanate. Rarely does music this loud sound this calculated.

But nothing I've heard from noise camps recently really compares to the joy The Goslings manage to wring out of these raw materials. “Sanibel” and “Haruspex” are both warping, wobbling tracks that pound out similar major key melodies. I0magine a bellows organ from a Satanic ritual distorted almost beyond its hydraulic life. And the soothing croon of Leslie Soren over the top of punishing beats in “Dinah” is pure radiance.

By Joel Calahan

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