Finding solace in the bleak – Death Is A Warm Blanket marks Microwave’s most mature effort to date.
2014’s Stovall serves as an example to other budding guitar bands how a debut record should sound. The album packs with a punch and cuts an edge that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck all the while being backed up by hooks that will keep you coming back – there was nothing safe about this record. However, it was in 2016 with album number two, Much Love that Microwave really started to capture hearts. The record built on the dynamic outlaid on Stovall but took it one step further with even catchier choruses, crisp production all the while maintaining Microwave’s intoxicating rough-around-the-edges vibe.
This is a band that means business. A change in direction to say the least, Death Is A Warm Blanket will shake up existing fans’ outlook on the band and win over a new audience, one with an infatuation for all things heavy. Distortion incarnate, the likes of which you’ve never heard before from this Georgian four-piece, and lyrics fuelled by wonderfully chaotic nihilism make for an exhilarating and restless experience on every listen.
Leather Daddy kicks off the proceedings in a manner that introduces the listener to everything they can expect to hear throughout the album. Poising in all the right moments, detonating just when they mean to – Microwave are delivering sonic rollercoasters from the off. The plodding riffs and frontman Nathan Hardy’s strained vocals flirt with early Weezer in the best way possible. Sticking in the 90s, Float To The Top at points wouldn’t sound out of place on any Nirvana record and marks one of the band’s most triumphant songs to date.
Visions of festival tents and intimate rock shows are conjured up alongside DIAWB. Along with The Brakeman Has Resigned and the latter half of Pull, it is one of the louder points on the record and is gutty, visceral and utterly exhilarating. Crowds around the world will no doubt be whipped up into a frenzy whenever Microwave take one of these tracks to the stage. Limbs will flail.
The album closes with two tracks that are more akin to the cleaner Microwave of old. Carry and Part of It wind the party down on the home straight with a more controlled and arguably pedestrian pace. Emotionally, Part of It remains particularly impactful – closing out by stripping the timbre back to just Hardy’s vocals crooning atop of a solitary guitar. It’s delicate and showcases Hardy’s proficiency as a songwriter. Depending on personal inclination, some might prefer an album this loud to exit on a bang that does the riot preceding it justice. If nothing, the album’s flatter ending will only make you want to relive the whole thing again, right from the breath-taking beginning.
While Death Is A Warm Blanket does sacrifice the charm of Much Love in favour of a much murkier and challenging dynamic, it’s a new direction that you’d be silly to turn your nose up at. This could be the most thrilling album of the year.
Death Is A Warm Blanket. Out 13th September via Pure Noise Records. Get it HERE.
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