I recently embarked on a cultural exchange to Japan. After a tedious set of arrangements from a brutal plane ride to an awful hangover from time change, I arrived in Tokyo. If anyone has seen Sofia Coppola’s incredible movie, Lost In Translation, I felt the need to recreate the opening scene. I blasted My Bloody Valentine through my headphones as I whizzed through the Shinjuku district, dazed by the overwhelming feeling of loneliness. It’s quite accurate, but I felt the soundtrack was misplaced. I decided to put on The Cure instead, and immediately felt the British Gothic Rock was better fitting.
I was recently given the new no:carrier album, Wisdom & Failure, as soon as I left, and gave it a whirl when I arrived at my hotel. My room was a 3 bedroom room with 7 strangers squished in. It was placed on the 18th floor of an empty sky scrapper in Tokyo, with a view that almost put me into tears. Where does one begin in a city so big? I indulged into the background notes of no:carrier, and it soon served as my anthem for city trekking in a lost world.
Every song on this album is constructed to be played firmly. The duo feeds off of each other so well, and they never stop with energy until the final note is played. The opener, “Alone Now”, serves as a strong starting point for an album, with a Florence + The Machine sounding croon, along with jingly keys and heavy horns. It feels as if they demand the listener to apply the song to the scenario they’re in, whether its in relaxing after work, or lost in Japan with no agenda. “Confession” follows the same path. Noted as the single of the album, I wish it wasn’t as tailored to a certain audience, and no:carrier holds back on the subtle experimentation they tend to have on tracks. It seemed bland to me.
The third track is promising. “Life” dips in the 80’s space rock, which has been applied to other bands today (Spiritualized, Galaxie 500), although this songs really commits to the original, vintage, true to form sound. I connected with “Sunset Castle” the most while I wandered Tokyo during sunset. The slightly oriental keys felt frosted against the incredible voice of Cynthia Wechselberger, (I may have placebo effect of music).
Two songs that I felt similar were “Losing Sight of the Coast” and “Last Scene”. Although completely different in sound, I noticed some strange meshing in the vibe it gave off. It came off as slightly ironic, although a serious undertone still struck me. The bluesy, aggressiveness of “Last Scene” was a side the duo hasn’t presented, and the same could go to the bubbly “Losing Sight of the Coast”. Maybe the duo are expanding their sound horizon? “Thoughts/Shoot The Sky” presents Chris Wirsig singing under a cloud of pedaled reverb, applying a softer, absent diversion from the isolated and deprived vocals from Wechselberger. Both push the track forward, and are wonderful together as a duo.
As a whole, Wisdom & Failure attempts and succeeds at giving off the effect that it’s bigger than just a duo. They have everything from spacey keys to icy drums, and deprived lonely lyrics that anyone can take from (“Owes You Nothing” is key). It’s hard to believe that when I read this press release they claim to be a duo. They apply heavy burdens of sound as each track progresses, ultimately to it’s climax of melodic noise. “Wisdom & Failure” closes the album with a saddened succession of notes that sound as if it can end a season of Game of Thrones. Wisdom & Failure keeps the goth rock sound alive by sticking to the core roots of the genre. Nothing too boundary pushing, but a solid release.