It seems like an age since Written From Negative last graced attentive ears with their jerky, keyboard-strafing polyrhythms; indeed, their last release to attract attention, a seven-inch through Big Scary Monsters, whetted appetites in such a way that any follow-up was almost certain to seem underwhelming by comparison. Perhaps such high opinions are to be blamed for the lengthy gap between releases – now the element of surprise is once again on the quintet’s side, and they use it well.
Almost Always Hungry features six tracks of northern soul-bearing punk rock, as wonderfully off-kilter as the music made by their geographical neighbours, This Aint Vegas. The spiraling twin voices and consistently jagged guitar lines are perfectly in tune with the wares of TAV, and fans turned on to the other side of the north east’s rock scene – the side obscured by the continuing ascent of the mainstream-accepted likes of The Futureheads – by said outfit’s latest long-playing effort will find similarly affecting charms here aplenty. When they’re not shouting each other down over cascading drums, Written From Negative ply a fine line in indie-disco crossovers: ‘It’s All In The Hips’ is a giveaway title if we’ve ever heard one.
Those that prefer their rock to prioritise aggression and bombast over clean riffs and joint-popping beats are well catered for, too – ‘Won’t Run Can’t Spell’ may feature a very contemporary wayward guitar throughout but the vocal menace atones for any characteristics that could be deemed contrived in the ears of those unimpressed by the brand new’s fondness for the retro. ‘Tonight I’m Drinking Coffee’ is similarly forceful of lyric, albeit with a darker-hued backdrop of quasi-gothic minimalist intensity.
Almost Always Hungry is a splendid successor to its authors' last success; here’s to them soon committing a full album to tape to fully tap into their well of potential.
6Mike Diver's Score