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The New Division

Night Escape EP

[Divsion 87; 2012]

By ; January 11, 2013 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

The New Division are a band that aim high, which is unsurprising since they have named themselves after one of the music’s most well known bands (Joy Division, incase that passed you by) and their reincarnated form (New Order). Their 2011 album, Shadows, wasted no time in getting into the clouds and spent most of its hour-long playtime blasting out the biggest noise they could make. Though dizzying at times, it showcased a band who were ready to put in the work to hit it big, and also one that weren’t a victim of being stuck with one genre tag. They wanted to ascend as well as transcend.

On their Night Escape EP, they’re once again riding high, but this time they’ve blasted themselves into a loud, brightly lit pigeonhole. In the space of four tracks the band manage to stay stuck in the one kind of style where they’re somewhere between being a rock band a dance act — though they lean more heavily into the latter description. The music on Night Escape is predominantly driven by flashy indistinguishable synths that either go into icy or grinding mode, and big drums that somehow manage to get washed away into the background.

Picking up where Shadows left off — on the club built-and-ready “Saturday Night” — “Pride” mixes sounds of crowds cheering amidst their illuminated noise, like you’re suddenly dropping in on a party you were totally meant to know was going down. It’s a little big-headed, but it can be forgiven because, as said, the band have always been one that want to play to crowds, to rally they masses of people into dancing and jumping about. “Pride” can be described like any of the other three tracks, though: the noise blares from the get go, and from thereon in, expect forgettable melodies and massive dubstep drops without the bass to follow. Each track on its own is acceptable, but come the end of the EP, the formula wears thin, making the changing textures and styles of Shadows seems far off.

“Kids” does seem to embody a kind of eerie atmospheric Burial-esque sound to begin with, but before long any thought of it is drowned out. The only element that remains is the occasional sample of female vocals, which comes to sounds completely out of place as the drums chime higher and higher until a predictable pause. Final track “Start Over” is a clever little nod to wanting to break free from the mushy synths chains, and it’s easy to be fooled into thinking that it might start changing the game. What instead ensues is a relentlessness repetition of dramatic pauses that soon becomes tiring. The band could do so much better. For an octave after octave build and release, you’d be better seeking out Lindstørm’s Smalhans, which does the whole thing more efficiently, without beating you over the head.

The title track probably fares the best here, including some vocal duties from Keep Shelly In Athens. The drops become less of a focal point, and though the spoken word segments are a bit much, there’s a sense of ebb and flow present (though even that manages to get wrung out by the production). In their own world, all criticism seems irrelevant, as when they’re blasting through the doors with their music, they sound like they’re bulletproof, and for that you’ve got to give them a little credit. It’s just a shame that in transcending and ascending they’ve jeopardized near enough everything which made them enjoyable and interesting last time round.


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