In recent times, Yorkshire music has been strongly associated with Arctic Monkeys and a trail of similar-sounding artists but there is also a strong scene for experimental/post-rock music with Leeds-based label Gizeh Records at its forefront. The bands on this roster tend to be painfully serious with a desire to challlenge rather than comfort and would surely be the perfect home for RealPolitik, a new act from Leeds with a taste for austere, confrontational music.
To illustrate the point, the short but definitely not sweet ‘Death Of A State’ bursts in first, with ear piercing noise and digitally confused vocals as its calling cards. ‘Brasil’ begins like a lost piece of sinister music from the Doctor Who archives before building up in to a doomy torch song performance by Cleo Harratt. If you’re thinking Portishead at this point, you wouldn’t be far off the mark.
Each track seems to have at least one discordant layer, just in case anyone could possibly mistake this for pop music. Yet at times the style reaps rewards. For ‘Ignorethemanbehindthecurtain’, Harratt’s ghostly tones mesmerise over a haunting piano melody and create the most compelling moment of the album. ‘Sigmund Jahn’ takes the constant eeriness to further heights with strings providing the main hook and even a hint of beauty amongst the ugliness.
‘2repelGhosts’ is ultimately an artistic triumph but it’s a very cold record whose constantly morose outlook makes it a difficult listen. File under “challenging” for future reference.
Portishead, The Artificial Sea