A horrible hack

asthenia

s/t

Year Released: 2014
Format: 10"
Label: self released
 
Reviewed by MH on Jul 12, 2014
This band is one that there have been very quiet murmurings about on the internet for a while now if you have been looking hard enough. Human Hands played some shows alongside them in their home country of Japan. There was some YouTube footage and then a demo track appeared on their Bandcamp page. More recently they were on the "My Heart In Your Hand" split 10inch with 4 other bands hugely influenced by 90s emo including Human Hands again. It's an important record and one I cannot recommend highly enough. The packaging in itself was an art form and you will notice the love that has gone into putting this record together too. There are a load of inserts and the artwork is bleak and beautiful.

This 10inch then gives us a chance to really hear what asthenia are about as there are four songs on here. I will be talking about tracks 1-4 as my language skills don't extend to Japanese.

This is the type of emo that has me hugely excited as their sound harks back to many of the best bands from the 90s. The sound of the guitars are a mix of bleak beauty, drive, sadness and desperation. An obvious influence would be Indian Summer as well as Native Nod in the meeting of pretty, melodic guitars and frequently more driven and abrasive bursts. At their most beautiful, like at the start of track 4, you could be forgiven for thinking you are listening to Bob Tilton and the twinkling that was prevalent in their early days. They match the drive on those records too when they get going. The opening track here teeters and teeters throughout - just lurking on your shoulder and waiting before everything comes crashing down as the main vocals get more desperate and are joined by another initially more melodic set of vocals. There are three sets of vocals mixing up the talking, singing and more abrasive vocals throughout. Chaos ensues at times across this record as they flit effortlessly from more driven attacks to slower, more bleak desperation mixed with sad, moody introspection. Back to that final track - in this one they deal in the blend of beauty and sadness that Belle Epoque evoked on "Une simple etoile" although the chaos that opened that song and the utter beauty of its ending are inverted here as this one opens with the more twinkly part and talky vocals before everything falls apart. I could talk about this record for days - all four tracks are superb. A simply stunning record.

NB This will also be released on tape in the UK by Cross Your Heart and Hope To DIY. I would just say that you should do whatever you can to get your hands on a copy of this in whatever format you can find.


Recommended record by Collective Zine!

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