Adrian Cooper has been unwell

Old reviews that are no longer available online, or from sites that no longer exist. The pen is dead, long live the camera.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

San Lorenzo
Nothing New Ever Works

There’s something rumbling in the West Midlands, hundreds of kids are running around with crazed looks on their faces, guitars slung around their knees. Somewhere among them stride San Lorenzo, touted as the newest challengers for Mogwai’s increasingly precarious throne. However, don’t assume that ‘Nothing New Ever Works’ is just another excuse for a bunch of bored kids to try and replicate/rip off that old quiet-loud, nice and soft/hard as fucking granite formula that so many others have been caught peddling in recent times.

From the very start, there’s enough evidence here to suggest that Stuart Braithwaite would be wise to abdicate his self-appointed position as King post-rock before thing starts to get messy round chez Mogwai. ‘Jun’ opens proceedings with a stuttering art-rock swagger of discordant guitars and yelped vocals, coming across like the incidental music for a kids television programme starring Captain Beefheart as a mentally ill door-to-door salesman and ‘Dead Amps’ is the sound of Nirvana offering Shellac outside whilst sneakily slipping a jackhammer into their back pocket.

Elsewhere, San Lorenzo craft a towering majesty from shifting time signatures and staccato drumming, as the sparse elegance of ‘Life Without Mountains’ treads a path not dissimilar to that of Red Stars Theory. Eager to not be pigeon-holed so quickly, San Lorenzo prove that they’re capable of more than full-on sonic assaults with a couple of brief glimpses at their softer, more fragile side as they stray from their effects pedals. Recalling the fragile nature of the Radar Brothers, the abatement of volume allows them to express themselves more clearly, as ‘My History Is Valid’ becomes both rallying cry and statement of self-affirmation (“my history is valid, it’s something I will defend, I stood my ground, when confronted on a train, my history is the context in which I live”), before ‘Some Trust’ clearly states their agenda and offers their opinion of their current contemporaries (“everything is for sale, your music’s shit”).

As ‘American High Rock Song’ rumbles to a close, you can almost hear that free Kappa gear coming in useful as the soon to be deposed Mr Braithwaite does a runner to the comfort of his mummy. While he strops about, you’d be wise to join San Lorenzo’s lynch mob for a party while they finish off the last of the Buckfast.