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Nine Black Alps - Love/Hate

Nine Black Alps, Love/Hate

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

LOVE/Hate is the second album from Manchester’s Nine Black Alps – and it marks a significant step forward from thunderous debut Everything Is.

“The first album was shouting out of your bedroom window at the world,” explains Sam Forrest, lead singer. “It was the album I had wanted to make when I was younger – Nirvana, The Pixies, Sonic Youth, and all. This album is where I am now.”

That’s to say, it capably mixes some hard-rocking bastards with moments of laidback serenity that reflect the band’s spiritual homeland on the west coast of America.

First up, there’s the disarmingly beautiful former single Bitter End, a belter of a track that sounds more like Fountains of Wayne meets Lemonheads than the sound of any band from Manchester.

With its sweet refrain of “baby come down”, shimmering guitar work and dusky vocals, it’s a heartmelter of an intro that’s surely the most romantic song from the band so far.

Burn Forever speeds things up slightly, to reflect the rockier sound of the Alps. Guitar-wise, there are times when it recaptures the early vibrance of Sonic Youth, as well as the in-yer-face Brit rock of Ash in their prime. The chorus is anthemic and feels like a smattering of British grit as opposed to the California glow of Bitter End.

Thereafter, the tracks come thick and fast without really skipping a beat.

Highlights include the Oasis influenced Everytime I Turn, which changes tempo with refreshing glee; the pulsating Pet Hate which drops lyrics such as “I’m drawn to everything that’s wrong” over some tender verses and a kick-ass chorus, and the Nirvana-influenced Forget My Name, which marks the album at its heaviest.

Better still, is the Beach Boys inflected Future Wife, written when Sam was struck down with the Mumps, and which infuses a woozy central guitar riff over some more blissful sunshine melodies, and Happiness and Satisfaction, which envelopes you in the warm glow of its brisk guitar work and upbeat lyrics.

Final track Under The Sun is an epic slow-builder that underlines just how much Sam has come of age as a songwriter – combining fragile beauty with something a little more emphatic come the skyscraping finale.

Love/Hate is a majestic sophomore album from Nine Black Alps that really ought to catapult them into rock’s premiere league. Do not end the year without it!

Download picks: Bitter End, Everytime I Turn, Pet Hate, Future Wife, Happiness And Satisfaction, Forget My Name, Under The Sun

Track listing:

  1. Bitter End
  2. Burn Faster
  3. Everytime I Turn
  4. Pet Hate
  5. Painless
  6. Future Wife
  7. Heavier Than Water
  8. Happiness And Satisfaction
  9. So In Love
  10. Forget My Name
  11. Under The Sun

  1. get it with nme for a fiver

    it rocks

    jimmy    Nov 2    #