A horrible hack


Our Spaces Vol 1 : A Benefit for the 1 in 12

Year Released: 2012
Format: Download
Label: self released
Reviewed by james pacanowski on Jan 7, 2012
I should probably preface this review by mentioning that I have never been to the 1-in-12; that said, I am not ignorant of its significance to the UK DIY scene – I have watched videos of bands like Shikari and Rorschach playing it over the years, and I always figured it was a matter of time before I make the inevitable pilgrimage myself. But as with so much in the DIY scene, especially in these recession-riddled times, this goes to show that even the seemingly most stable institutions can't be taken for granted. Frankly, my review here really shouldn't matter too much because you should already be donating and downloading this along with the other marvellous comp released by State Icons (http://stateicons.blogspot.com/2011/12/1-in-12-benefit-download-compilation.html) to benefit the 1-in-12. Nevertheless, I was asked very nicely to review this, so review I shall.

Unlike the aforementioned State Icons comp, the majority of the bands here take a distinct lean to the emo side of things; save for Facel Vega's and Twisted's tracks on here in fact, it is a predominantly emo affair. It kicks off with Jupiter Lander's 'Red King', which comes across as similar to Rockets And Blue Lights at their most hectic (see 'We Bleed This in the Winter' for reference).

Next up is that aforementioned Facel Vega track, 'Inertia', from their BBC session; you'd be hard-pressed to find a better hardcore release from 2011 than FV's 'The Body' and this version of one of the cuts off that record is pure B'last!-ish snotty obnoxiousness. If there is one track here that sounds perfectly suited to bouncing off the walls of the 1-in-12, this would be it. All the things you like about hardcore essentially, so good it deserves its own paragraph.

What Price Wonderland? are next with a song whose title I am not even going to dignify by writing out in full here. The track itself though is a raucous live cut that bemoans that most stereotypical of emo band topics: poor quality falafel. If you aren't familiar with WPW? already then this is about as good an introduction to their brand of semi-twinkly, mostly-shakey post-punk-mo. Again, so good it deserves its own paragraph.

Model Radio follow that with 'Rusty James', a lo-fi noodly number that sort of recalls the American wave of twiddlesters like Monument before they all started ditching the poor recording. As such, it works well. We Leave At Dawn up after that with an angular bit of gruffmo in 'The Irrelevance of Dreaming' that at times could pass for something Twelve Hour Turn might have come up with. Really decent.

Yet another dedicated paragraph as the defunct but still sublime Twisted are after that with 'Selfish Instinct', a flailing garage-punk jam that kicks your behind from the first few bass notes and continues to kick it until it finally curls up exhausted in a sweaty mess. A fine reminder as to how good this band were – this serves an appropriate purpose here too, as you think as to how depressing the absence of just a single band in a scene is, one reflects on the kind of impact the loss of an entire venue would have. Mad fucking relevant.

Feint are the seventh band up with 'Review Recharge Revue', a thin but otherwise pleasingly frantic song that to me sounds like a slightly cleaner Ten Boy Summer. Toby CJ follows that up with 'Me And The World' which is sort of like what Twisted would've sounded like if they'd opted to not wear shoes and fall over a lot; major emo points here, particularly the hesitant “I guess... I guess I got older” line.

Final dedicated paragraph goes to Tumer Street Conspiracy (no song title) who, of the bands I hadn't already heard, impressed me the most. In fact, were it not for the Facel Vega track this would easily be my favourite track on here. Driving midwestmo that (probably unintentionally) steals all the best bits of The Kossabone Red then breaks into Pot Valiant-esque noisy parts. I don't know if they did it on purpose or not but Tumer Street Conspiracy were onto a winning formula here. One to lose your voice to – it certainly sounds like the singer did the same, and I mean that in the best way possible.

Narwhal provide the penultimate track (again, untitled) in the form of some moody, squalling screamo. They are no Battle of Wolf 359 but they are decent otherwise. Finally Tales Of Spook City provide a nice counterpoint to all the noisy emo and hardcore boys with 'Mist and the Fog', a pleasant acoustic song that does not overstay it's welcome by keeping it short and sweet. Not really as strong as the rest of what's on offer but a nice enough conclusion to the comp.

It shouldn't bear repeating but I will anyway: you really don't need to read my review to know you need to download this (and of course, that State Icons comp too) if you have not already done even the very bare minimum you can to help the 1-in-12. But for those who have, £1 for a comp of this calibre is certainly nothing to be sniffed at; if there is a silver lining to be found in the 1-in-12's unfortunate scenario, it is in the existence of comps like these that should make us feel lucky to be a part of the scene we are in; a scene that is owed in no small part to the existence of a place like the 1-in-12.

For those wanting to do more, go to the 1-in-12 website here: www.1in12.com where you'll find instructions as to how to donate more if you so desire.
Recommended record by Collective Zine!

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