Newcomers WALL are a mysterious entity. Their only online presence being an eerie monochrome website named WE ARE WALL, the only information, that “WALL is a post-punk or no wave band based in New York City. This is up for discussion I guess”. This secrecy is refreshing in a modern music scene of shameless, constant self-promotion, and the cryptic nature of the website is an embodiment of their dark and curious music.
Opener ‘Cuban Cigars’ opens with a spiky guitar riff from Vince McClelland before fusing with the pulsing rhythm section and the spoken/riot-grrrl-esque vocals of Sam York as she repeats “Sitting up//Playing up//Walking in//Talking Tough” in chant like fashion, whilst the influence of groups like Wire screams out. ‘Fit the part’ is my personal favourite, opening with similar vocals to the first track, and a paranoid, claustrophobic rhythm combination from Vanessa Gomez’s brisk drums and Elizabeth Skadden’s bass guitar perfectly accompanying the frenzied, ranting lunacy of the spoken verse, recalling the Fall’s agitator in chief Mark E. Smith, with lines like “gotta fit the part to get the part”. The paranoia continues into ‘Milk’ with a brittle guitar kicking things off before the menacing bassline and foreboding drums give an impending sense of dread to the odd chorus, “The Sky opened up// Milk poured out”, culminating in the guitar spiralling into havoc and dissonance at the finale. ‘Last Date’ rounds off the EP nicely, with the same impervious rapid drums and punishing bass, whilst each line is punctuated by a jagged guitar slash. The raging, abrupt vocals expulsed from Sam York’s mouth yell “Waiting//Changing//Quickly//Aging//Washed Up//Faded//Conquered//Jaded”, while the guitar seethes, whirling into a cacophony of panic, melding perfectly with the urgent vocals.
WALL evidently take inspiration from many different bands associated with post-punk, as well as legendary fellow New York natives Sonic Youth (particularly Kim Gordon’s vocal style), to birth a short, ominous and exciting debut. WALL are well worth keeping your eye on.