retro futurismThere is an incredible tension to this blistering adventure in sound and texture by It Was All A Bit Black And White, a drum and guitar duo from Galway. All the tracks are instrumentals with heavy guitars in direct conflict with subtle arpeggios and earth shattering drums. The lack of vocals frees the instruments to be the driving forces and there is a great degree of light and shade in this record, the tracks peaking and troughing from gentle, restrained moments to crashing crescendos. It’s unclear how the writing process worked but the sound comes across as very organic and very natural. 

Arzt Und Der Bleistift is a good example, ushering itself in with echoed guitar notes that build and build until the guitar becomes more aggressive and distorted before the drums lift the tempo to another level.  Stickle Bricks is more of the same. The title track is a little different with its intertwined guitar lines creating a harmony that meets with a fuzzed bass line and what appears to be a synth effect.

Pollock with its synths and drum machine beat is completely different to anything else on the record and sounds like the Cure mixed with Acid Jazz and electronic music more than the heavy rock exemplified elsewhere. The Electric Mayhem is exactly that, mayhem. All sorts of weird futuristic noises are utilised in a wave of experimentation that sounds like the soundtrack to a Super Marios Bros. game. Savage Animal is very indie but changes shape halfway through as the dynamic shifts and the aggression returns. It’s Not a Racial Thing sounds like Arcade Fire and the Prodigy in a bizarre collaboration.

The music never comes across as contrived, nor do the duo come across as musos. This is headbangers’ paradise, it rocks and it rocks hard when it wants to but there are moments of contemplation and some amazing musicianship. It would seem that these two musicians are just playing and seeing what they come up with and the results are, for the most part,  extremely fruitful.