Album Review: Nikko - Gold & Red

6 July 2012 | 5:13 pm | Matt MacMaster

Gold And Red is an apocalyptic country record that weds post rock’s dark, epic scope with country music’s narrative melodrama.

Who cares what folks think – post rock is still alive. The genre is phenomenally glacial in its progression (it hasn't really changed its sound since it ruled the bedrooms of slightly progressive grunge kids in the '90s), but it still has its champions that continue to gently push the envelope. Brisbane's Nikko return with their own take on the genre with Gold And Red, an apocalyptic country record that weds post rock's dark, epic scope with country music's narrative melodrama.

Whilst it doesn't buck the “silence to violence” trend set long ago by Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky in terms of the sound dynamics, it builds on established textures using instrumentation not usually associated with post rock. Whining harmonica pierces the gloomy soundscapes and the vocals of Ryan Potter, who sounds uncannily like Arab Strap's Aidan Moffit (and just as cheery), giving the doom and gloom a focus, a central protagonist for the music to frame.

The arrangements are epic and the dynamics are well-constructed with peaks and troughs executed with discipline. The musicianship is still a little rough around the edges, and the atmosphere is consistent to a fault, getting a little repetitive. Loose playing and track layering can work if the band utilises excess texture and production effects, but since theirs is a relatively naked sound with not much tinkering, the seams show.

Regardless, Gold And Red is a good effort and a gutsy, if theatrically sombre, entry in a genre that refuses to fade out.

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