Dragon Welding –  Dragon Welding (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

The title might suggest that I have downloaded the wrong music file and am attempting to write a review of a supercar chop shop business in downtown Shanghai, that is until you work out that the name is actually an anagram of Andrew Golding, founding member of C86 pioneers The Wolfhounds and what is before me is his debut solo album. And if The Wolfhounds had a signature sound of fairly, of its moment jangle-pop, albeit getting more and more off-kilter by the release, Dragon Welding draws its inspirations from a much more eclectic sonic palette.

These Are Dangerous Times is a clever blend of frantic acoustic, brooding rock energies, warped guitar washes and howling, distant peripheral sounds yet it is as infectious as anything you’d find in the current indie or alt-pop canon. It is also shot through with an intricacy, not to mention integrity, that the current custodians of such genres could only dream of. The Builders takes things even further down such a road, a 6 minute blast of high-octane, intense doom-pop, the perfect collision of dark, relentless undercurrents and clinical krautrock hypnotics  all the time decrying the gentrification of our cities.

The album takes in more melodic but no less intense garage rock with Join The Dots, wanders some glitchy and wonderfully crazy paving clad routes on The Dumb and even bows out with Lament For Common Sense’s mix of ambient sounds fashioned from industrial noises.

Dragon Welding is a great debut album, one that places deft lyrical observation at the heart of sonic maelstroms so that often there is a sense of someone trying to tell you something important through a howling gale. Whilst an automated car plant collapses mid shift. On an active fault line. In a war zone. And somehow Golding fashions all of these challenging, hard-edged, grinding and grating sounds into something both beautifully intense and more often than not, intensely beautiful.



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