RELEASE: Helter Skelter
RECORD COMPANY: Barongsai Records.
With their debut album, Helter Skelter, Indonesia’s Intenna have delivered a Christmas gift so epic that Santa might not get his sleigh off the ground. The Malang-based five piece have created a weighty and sonorous album, with guitars that are resplendent with reverb, pummelling drums and brooding but melodic bass lines. Layer and layers of reverb overwhelm, comfort and uplift. It’s like being afloat on sea of eggnog. The vocals are clear and high or cool and low, with female and male members sharing singing duties.
The jangle of delayed guitars opens Flowery, a summery introduction to Helter Skelter, featuring some sky-high female vocals. White Shadow opens with reverb that bathes everything in a metallic glow, before the bass comes in and the song blooms into a languorous 90s lollop, tumbling along with rolling toms. The slowcore howl of Memar is packed with emotion, heightened at first by high heavenly voices and later by heaving sobs. Glimpse thunders with a New Order groove and re-energises. The centrepiece of the album is the outstanding Hama. Vast, echoing toms tempt the listener in while restrained, but reverby guitars sigh and soar in the background and the vocals keep a cool disinterest. But it builds beautifully, the harmonics of the layers clashing and complementing. It’s anchored by the melody of the bass, which really sings out in the latter stages of this 13 minute epic. The instrumental textures of Thirst are deep and restorative after the earlier exertions. Horse warbles along with lashings of flanger and phaser, and some sweet oohs, or ahhs. Nosebleed is another highlight, with its haunting melody and a bassline that deserves attention. The Ride-reminiscent Half A Lie rolls along with the bass providing the momentum while the guitars squall and growl. Closer Lantur marries an ambitious aria and spoken word with a shimmering drone. Finally the hypnotic beat fades away, leaving a silvery glimmer behind.
Rich and resonant, Helter Skelter, is a debut that glints with dark magic, like a Norwegian forest in mid-winter.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
In her time, Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr has attended raves and rock clubs. She enjoys pedals, pizza and spy dramas. Sarah also plays guitar in Edinburgh-based noisemakers Wozniak and is co-founder of Morningside Young Team who put on gigs and put out records for discerning audiences who enjoy fuzz and confusion.