Have A Nice Life - The Unnatural World REVIEW

After many years and an obsessive online following waiting, Have A Nice have come back and soon their record will be in the mail. Beginning with a simple back-and-forth tremolo smudged to oblivion, the classic drum sound remains intact, as do the vocals. It does, strangely, sound much like something that would be on one of the more ethereal tracks on Deathconsciousness. Duel vocals are more apparent in this track and in later ones. It is expensive. This isn't the raw sound DC had on it. Over reverb and distortion higher-end guitar leads come in a way very reminiscent of bands in the post metal/atmospheric sludge scenes. While lacking the catastrophic introduction that was A Quick One..., a movement into a heavily bass-oriented riff as the follow up to the introducing track is here again. Much more punk here. While Bloodhail had slow depressive vocals from the start, Defenstration Song is more aggressive, rhythmically consistent, and with those dual vocals coming once more. But beneath it is a fairly standard group of progressions with a dull, predictable bridge. This by no means spoils the track; it getting progressively noisier and laden with squealing layers of dissonant feedback, the closing half minute repeating 'This is what it's like/is this what it's going to be like?', but it does take the shine off it, leaving me feeling quite ambivalent at times.

Drones are more present in this release, be it through reverb and delay-filled simple chord passages, through harmonics and feedback, or a piano being quickly "strummed" so that the sustained notes form together: very much how the likes of Charlemagne Palestine achieve a long and melodic and seemingly choral drone. Lumbering bass plays over sounding like a foghorn to guitar leads quickly picked at a fast and constant beat. So when the forth track comes in with what is essentially shoegaze-tinged drone metal a-la Nadja you can imagine my reaction. Moving in, a double bass, bells, chanting, crying vocals.

Have A Nice Life have matured considerably and with a refined sound to boot. Bands like Les Discrets in their more shoegazey works come to mind. Mid album, a sampled field recording before a return to the more aggressive upbeat playing. Something I occasionally notice is the louder vocals clipping to distortion; very much how Dan worked with the vocals in Giles Corey, particularly in The Haunting Presence. More genres are being brought in and it's only better for it. Some of it doesn't work as well. The bassline to Dan And Tim, for example, immediately reminded me of something A Brief History Of Love-era The Big Pink would release. Not that I dislike them hugely. Those swelling keyboards fade in and out of the song but until it gets properly going into a large, noisy, sad soundscape, it's lacking. A dull, generic bridge saved by beautiful but kind of typical chords gently downtuning with a whammy bar. As this repeats for a couple of minutes, it really starts to work and draw me in, but like Defenstration Song it can feel very inconsistent and built up on soft soil.

As an album, this will forever suffer from comparison to Deathconsciousness, and the near mimetic humour and fame which the album has on the inner circles of the internet's music boards will refuse to budge long after this has been released - even if critics do come to favour this one - simply for the influence Deathconsciousness had on the music scenes from which it was derived. However, unlike the relief of many long-awaited hiatuses from notorious underground artists, this isn't a disappointment. Quite the opposite. This is incredibly impressive, and is an excellent start to 2014.

Did I mention that it has drones in it?

Stream here

It will be released on February 4th, 2014.

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