White noise sound is, let’s be blunt, rather boring. You’ve got to be some kind of sadist to actually enjoy listening to it and if for some reason you don’t know what it is, hit the search engines and find some, but don’t say you weren’t warned.
Luckily, there is little alignment between Swansea six-piece White Noise Sound’s second album Like A Pyramid Of Fire and their name. Formed in 2006, the Welsh outfit came together through natural evolution more than anything else, as various local acts joined ranks. In 2010 they released an acclaimed eponymous debut long player described in certain quarters as “psychedelia meeting krautrock”, with numbers such as the excellent Sunset blazing a psychedelic, motorik trail of magnificence. Sunset was the perfect prescription of ‘their’ sound at the time, a sound heavily influenced by The Jesus And Mary Chain and in particular Spacemen 3 amongst others, but with the involvement of Pete Kember then perhaps this was inevitable.
LAPOF – as it shall hitherto be known – is largely a different beast to that of its predecessor. Cian Ciaran of Super Furry Animals remains on mixing and production, along with Dublin techno DJ and producer Phil Kieran, so the new direction is a little unexpected and occasionally results in a sound of confusion as experiments begin to stand shoulder to shoulder with a tried and trusted formula.
The biggest nod to the past is possibly Red Light, an enthrallingly driving, droning rhythmical monster that finishes off with a gargantuan guitaring passage of compelling power – an excellent foothold for early fans before they tackle this different approach. Single and opening track Heavy Echo has attracted widespread admiration since its release; it’s a thoroughly captivating, droning fuzzfest of ‘life gone wrong’ that recalls Brian Jonestown Massacre and was apparently conceived in a Cardiff flat by band leader Daniel Henley – let’s hope for his neighbours’ sake the demo was rather toned down compared to the final version.
Elsewhere, the band begin to drift off on a tangent to the norm: the beautiful All You Need is set to a meticulous, mechanical beat with hushed vocals and swirling synths as the shoegaze-laced Maps are brought to mind whilst the pulsating experimentation of Can’t You See It borrows samples and other effects as electronica not unlike that witnessed on Boards Of Canada’s Geodaddi begins to take a hold. The slower Bow opens to blips and beeps in the style of Kasabian from their eponymous debut and Do It Again rolls along like an evolving beast, built around repetition and a catchy keyboard riff as the band tap into their krautrock influences.
Step Into The Light is simply magnificent: following a slower path with simple guitar chords, soaring synths and cymbals alongside persistent drumming it’s a thing of beauty, leading to a cinematic climax brushed with brass-led orchestration. The experimentation doesn’t always come off, however, with closing track Feel It sounding a little like a leftover piece of collated electronic bleeps.
With the debut so teasingly like Spacemen 3, the follow-up will probably disappoint those that just wanted more of the same, but LAPOF is so much more, with varying influences popping up all over the place. Whilst this has diluted an overall consistency, it’s revealed a depth that was certainly not prevalent for 2010’s introduction to the band, and playing with fire in this manner was an undeniable risk. The change of direction has perhaps been primarily due to Kieran’s influence, but however they got here is largely irrelevant; where they go next, though, is potentially mouth-watering.