Nope - Revision

by Andy Brown Rating:9 Release Date:2012-09-01

It goes without saying that Leeds has a thriving music scene; you only have to venture to venues like the Brudenell, Wharf Chambers and the Fox & Newt to see the wealth of talent on offer. If you have recently, you may have been lucky enough to catch Nope live-in-action. Nope are something of a Leeds (and Bradford) supergroup featuring a guitarist from That Fucking Tank here and members of Cowtown and Mucky Sailor there (the singer's been in lots of bands too). Anyway, it really doesn't matter if you've not heard of any of these bands as Revision stands alone as one of the finest underground rock records released all year.

Over the course of six tracks and 45 minutes, Andy Abbott, Jonathan Nash, Steve Nuttall and Patrick Dowson make a better argument for the state of music in 2012 than a whole heap of NME endorsed hopefuls. Nope play soaring psych-rock blended with Krautrock via The Melvins-style rhythms; it's a sound which makes even life's most banal moments seem somehow exciting (try listening to it on the 'morning commute' to see what I mean).

The LP starts with the energetic flourishes of 'Black Mask', which stands as one of the most genuinely joyous pieces of music I've heard in ages; guitars and drums building to ecstatic crescendos of psych-rock perfection. The band uses two drummers to great effect and nowhere is this clearer than on the brilliant eight-minutes that make up 'Porous Spile'. Nope's sound is a heavy, intoxicating mix of psychedelia and noise but a sound that always edges towards the euphoric and the hopeful.

'Todmorden' makes a brief but stunning detour into acoustic Americana before turning into a slow, sludge-rock beast about halfway in. Revision is an album which never takes the listener for granted and has more than a few tricks up its sleeves. 'Behind the Skullbong' is possibly the album's most intense piece, with heavy tribal drums pitted against Abbotts frantic guitar. Things come across all euphoric again, however, with album highlight 'Pentrich Rising'. The track perfectly encapsulates everything that was great about Siamese Dream-era Smashing Pumpkins (minus those opinion-splitting vocals from head Pumpkin Billy Corgan).

The near 20-minute 'Crooked Staff' is a spectacularly unhinged slab of psychedelically-inclined Krautrock and perhaps Nope's definitive statement. The only track to feature semi-prominent vocals, you can hear snippets of reverb-soaked singing over the tracks building tension; "I am neither sane, nor insane…" A culmination of the album's influences, 'Crooked Staff' is a ridiculously brilliant piece of psych-rock and goes some way to redeeming the previously cringe-inducing notion of a 'supergroup'. This is certainly no Velvet Revolver (thank fuck).

Revision is a powerful, confident, inspiring and frequently stunning collection of psych-rock. Then again, anyone who regularly attends gigs around Leeds wouldn't have expected any less. The album's produced rather beautifully by Hookworms' MJ and if all that wasn't enough, the band has released the album as a free download via Bandcamp. If you want to hear something fresh, vital and untouched by the often cynical world of 'mainstream' music than you really have to hear Revision. Just say 'yes' to the seductive powers of the mighty Nope - experimental, psychedelic rocks answer to The Travelling Wilburys.

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