Released back in February this year, on gorgeous limited edition, hand-numbered Neon Magenta vinyl, BAPH’s debut LP Today’s News… Stay Happy and it’s northern menace are immediate, gripping and demand to be heard from the outset... the first of many reasons my turntable is now enslaved to it.
More than a call to arms, opener Fuxit serves as a call for collective consciousness and accountability, calling out all the corrupt for their long-overdue reckoning; amid a steady Kasabian/New Order surround, loudspeakers scream and chaotic PILesque pleas ignite our desire for riotous uprise.
Ironically stealing the velocity from proceedings, Thieves is more emotive andaccessible, perhaps as the leaden, tragedy-laden lead vocal exposes our poor protagonist’s suffering soul; guitars weigh down heavy on a haunted and hurt, somehow familiar psyche.
Soma’s insidious sample-rich intro slowly reinstates momentum and challenges the prevalence of blind prejudice in a rigged system; anthemic, groovy and sharp morph into loose sonic oblivion, rich with falsetto Richard Ashcroft vocals, Orbital synth, Joy Division guitar, and heaps of true northern grit.
With it’s sinister undertow escalating amidst a haunting, hypnotic dirge that’s akin to Phosphorescent covering Shadowplay, the fluid construct of Renegades is alluring and life-affirming; as it’s casual, confident clutches slowly release, a lighter, more relaxed outro allows us once again, to breathe a little easier.
Initially echoing Nirvana’s Love Buzz as played by REM, Shout til you’re blue stands loud and proud; from the second the soaring vocal steals the spotlight, it dictates proceedings, effortlessly slowing for some falsetto one moment, before pulling everything along with it’s guttural gravity the next.
Let it burn is a more accessible Secret Machines/Gabrielle’s Wish amalgamation that’s awash with attitude and angst, perhaps best summarised by the charged political Billy Bragg/KLF narrative which closes the track; urgency and outrage combine to great effect.
Predominantly acoustic Into the orchard introduces simple orchestration with understated impact, and as each carefully considered syllable is sung, we’re enticed and enchanted right through to the heavy close; you could be forgiven for thinking this was a track by Sean Cook’s The Flies… so yeah, sublime!
piano and trip-hop beats,
each hankering, attention-hungry vocal interlude, this all fades
and falls away; succumbing
crescendo, the track closes
amid a visceral stream of brass, beats and sincere beckoning… time
for side A again! As essential as Secret Machines' Now here is Nowhere and shot through with the brilliance of Black Submarine, this LP is nothing short of a debut that surely wont be maytched for some time to come; anyone struggling to fill their 'Best LPs of 2020' list could certainly use a copy of this in their collection. So, all that said and done, let's give it up once again for...
Behold a Pale Horse- JOHN NELLIST: Vocals, Guitar, FX, Harmonica. XEV DOUGLAS: Guitar, Vocals, Keyboard, FX. ED BLAZEY: Bass, Vocals, Trumpet, Loops & FX. MATTY STOKER: Drums, Percussion & Vocals. ROB BLAZEY: Synths, Samples & FX.