After what feels like a prolonged absence, experimental noisenik duo Gentle Friendly return with their first release in three years – the rather awkwardly titled – ‘KAUA’I O’O A’A’. It’s an album of raw and energetic clamour that sees the pair intentionally obfuscate melody in favour of rampant eclecticism; off-kilter electronica drowned in violently intrusive drumlines, overlaid with David Maurice’s reedy vocals.

When it shoots wide of the mark – on tracks such as ‘As In The Wind’ or ‘Rip B’ – it can feel unrelentingly obtuse; an almost circular void of noise. But retune your brain to their singular wavelength and peculiar charms begin to reveal themselves; the ceaseless drive of ‘Autumn Nite’, the oddly oppressive hope of ‘No Future’ or – with harmonics that rise like some otherworldly surf rock – the eccentric rhythms of ‘Cloudbusting II’.

It’s this intriguing and boundless energy – reminiscent of the south Londoners’ debut – that manages to balance out the album’s imperfections, leaving just enough disarming thrills to keep you coming back for more.


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