Album Review: Drahla - 'Useless Coordinates'

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Obscure, angular, brutal, creative- this is a debut to cherish.

If you're familiar with some of Drahla's earlier EP's and singles, you know what to expect from this debut. Light on melody, chorus and song structure, they approach song arrangement in an original and unbelievably effective ways. Lucille Brown's breathy vocal rhythms almost act as the base of the songs whilst the constantly swapping arena of instruments (including insane Physics House Band esque sax breaks) act as tendrils, reaching out and flailing almost uncontrollably. What Drahla sometimes failed to put across was an energy in their earlier tracks. The pure brutality of the Leeds aa debut shackles off that accusation.

The album starts with the stop/start ramshackle no-wave of Gilded Cloud, which sets the tone for the record perfectly. Metallic instrumentation which lands somewhere between Gang of Four and Sonic Youth accentuates Brown's vocals, reminiscent of a sedate, Northern Lovefoxxx (of Brazilian dance-punk misfits CSS). Pyramid Estate and Stimulus for Living are two phenomenal slabs of post-punk joy, with the formers beautifully unlistenable sax break clashing nicely with the latters attempt of actually containing a chorus. Centrepiece React/Revolt is noisy, brooding, sprawling and frenetic all at once and Primitive Rhythm and Serotonin Levels both do exactly what they say on the tin. The album on a whole is by no means an easy listen, high on intensity and oblique, clever lyricism- this is not for the faint hearted. But in an age when guitar music is as healthy as it has ever been, Drahla are the weird little siblings that these scenes always have. And those little siblings always end up cooler than you anyway. 

Words by James Kitchen