Far less noisy than one would anticipate, Ringthing, the new album by Berlin’s Jaguwar, kicks off the New Year with a belly full of melody and effects. With two EPs already released in the US through Prospect Records, Jaguwar brought themselves to the notice of Tapete Records through their request to support The Telescopes.
In many respects, Ringthing is an album from a band trying to find their own two feet. Citing My Bloody Valentine as an influence, one would expect this album to come with a blue sign reminding you to put your ear defenders on. But however much they try to immerse their music in swathes of effects and distortion, the songs just keep bursting through. At its best, Ringthing is accessible European indie packed with energy and little sense of its own promise.
Surprisingly fast-paced at times, courtesy of a caffeine-fuelled drummer, tracks such as ‘Lunatic’ offer solid guitar music with an intangible female vocal reminiscent of The Primitives’ Tracey Tracey. There is a definite ‘jangle’ about some of the songs on this album. ‘Crystal’ and ‘Skeleton Feet’ want to be ethereal but are frankly just too solid to be. They have a unity and coherence missing from the back catalogues of many of their musical heroes. And that’s the beauty, isn’t it? Through imitation we find our own voice and form. Both ‘Whales’ and ‘Week’ feel like a band who are being true to themselves. Anthemic at points, these tracks are fuller and more confident, an extrovert Muse.
Where Jaguwar aren’t quite themselves, the songs are marked by a lengthiness that isn’t wholly necessary. Like a child learning to ride a bike, the starts are wobbly and the ends either have too great an application of the brakes or accelerate uncertainly downhill. With a bit of confident trimming most of the songs, which are five or six minutes long, could be neatly reduced by a minute at each end. ‘Slow and Tiny’, therefore, would be better stripped of its Sigue Sigue Sputnik opening and being left to be the bouncy little indie tune it really is.
Equally, ‘Away’ would be a gossamer duet in the manner of The Cure at their most romantic if only they’d been assertive enough to lop off the twiddly ending.
As if they know this anyway, Ringthing finishes with ‘End’, a two minute piece that is indeed that, an end from start to finish.
There’s plenty to enjoy on this album. And, whilst the outcome may not have been as radical as they intended, it’s worth peeking under their security blanket of noise.
Ringthing will be released on 12th January 2018 through Tapete Records.