The Goslings – Grandeur of Hair

Grandeur of Hair is known to be their most definitive record to date and lead the Goslings onto the influential label Not Not Fun. But it should be noted that Grandeur of Hair was recorded cassette and has been mastered atrociously. It’s rare that I’d ever say this in a positive context, (I’ve only ever used it to describe Ariel Pink’s early material and the Coachwhips) but in this instance, I can. Grandeur of Hair is not a headphone record, oh no, listening to this through headphones would be a close equivalent to having your eardrums powerdrilled. The lack of mastering results in shrieks and wails of explosive noise that drones and reverberates uncontrollably, overwhelming the listener in a flood of guitar-driven textures, howling noise and Leslie Soren’s static cries.

Grandeur of Hair opens with a track that could be described as a fusion of my Bloody Valentine’s Loveless and Merzbow’s Dharma. Sheer intensity is provoked from the layers of feedback and extra-trebled cymbals as Soren’s resounded vocals creep in, which are barely audiable due to the masses of shoegaze blare. ‘Croaton’ is overflowing with racuous guitar sludge and stiffening drum rhythms yet reinforced by characteristic and melodic vocals.  ‘Haruspex’ is a 13-minute piece of gradual building pulses of drones and psychedelic moans until a percussional beat is formed by technical anomalies that jeer and crackle upon the blankets of strident resonance. The album comes to close with ‘Dinah’, a tired yet excessively amplified guitar and drum track that appropriately concludes what is by now an all time favourite record from this Florida duo.

The most challenging aspect of Grandeur of Hair is how beautiful it actually is. Many hear brutal post-apocalyptic pointlessly-noisy clamour who are dependant on loud volume to mask their original arrangements but I hear, behind the strectched riffs and sinister drumbeats, solemn and humble vocals and sweeping atmospheres of blissful ambience, which is a difficult yet equally impressive thing to say about a fundamentally metal album.

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