Thula Borah – Near Life Experience (Kill Jester)
Glasgow’s Thula Borah seem to have been around for most of this blog’s lifespan. In that time they’ve regularly produced quality records exploring that hinterland between post-rock and, well, rock.
What’s been impressive is that they’ve never dropped their standards. Perhaps their chosen method of delivery – their E.P.s are usually about 6 song give or take – helps. If you’re only playing with half a dozen songs then there’s not much scope for a duffer even if, in terms of length, most of those ‘E.P.s’ would qualify as albums.
So, I’m pleased to report that ‘Near Life Experience’ (trailed by single ‘The Psychopath Test’ towards the tail end of 2016) not only maintains their winning run but is also possibly their most varied record to date.
The opening tracks illustrate their skill for locked claustrophobia – opening instrumental ‘Analysis Paralysis’ channels a big chunk of NYC’s Band of Susans whilst ‘The Psychopath Test’ mixes its fluid riffs with exhilarating false endings.
By contrast ‘Confabulation’ boats a more open melody and sets the scene for a much expansive run of songs with a wider range of textures.
Whilst there’s still heavy guitars (‘Do No Harm’ carries a quiet-VERY loud vibe), there’s also acoustic guitars and the closing title track could be TB’s take on folk albeit with added cathartic finale.
But the centre-piece is undoubtedly the monumental 9 minute long ‘Unhappen’. It is to a large extent their prog epic yet, admirably, it never loses its sense of purpose.
I said earlier that ‘Near Life Experience’ is Thula Borah’s most varied record to date. And it is. But with every play (and there’s been a fair few recently) it seems like it’s also their electrifying, enthralling best.
‘Near Life Experience’ is available from the Thula Borah Bandcamp
The band’s upcoming shows are:
Feb 18 – Hootananny, Inverness
Mar 09 – O2 ABC 2, Glasgow (as part of The Pogues Irish Whiskey Presents: A Shot at Discovery)
Apr 16 – Nice N Sleazy, Glasgow