ALBUM REVIEW: This is Not a Future (THESE FOUR WALLS)
ALBUM This is Not a Future // ARTIST These Four Walls
With almost eight years between albums, moving countries and a whirlwind of live shows in their wake, Gold Coast-based rockers These Four Walls find triumph in karmic retribution, blending dissonant thematics with bludgeoning beauty on their upcoming album This Is Not A Future due out on Friday April 24.
From Nicole Kidman to the humble Pavlova, us Aussies have a longstanding legacy for staking our claim on non-Australian things. And while hard rock quartet These Four Walls might technically hail from Auckland, since resettling on the Gold Coast and whipping up a devoted fanbase with their striking tunes seemingly influenced by some of our own country's faves, it's safe to say we'd all happily claim this lot as our own - and their upcoming album release This Is Not A Future will undoubtedly further ignite Australia's love affair.
Marking the third album outing for These Four Walls, This Is Not A Future comes eight years after the band's 2012 full-length Living To Write The End and amidst some insanely abnormal times all over the globe. And while initially planned as an EP release last year, the group opened up to their fans and found themselves within five days smashing their crowdfunding goal, teaming up with producer and guitarist extraordinaire Luke Palmer (Dead Letter Circus) and veteran producer/engineer Matt Bartlem - and ultimately crafting an album of shifting melodic delights that thematically deals in overarching themes of karmic retribution.
This Is Not A Future kicks off on a calm and misty note with the emotive The Sound providing a short introductory segue that sets up the dichotomy for the remainder of the album where These Four Walls flit between measured serenity and rousing riffs, the latter being readily repped on the stadium-ready Chaos while calling out toxicity on a wider scale. Offering up a slice of unblemished rock, Chaos hurls out oozing harmonies and melodic twists amid scurrying basslines and distorted guitars, before feisty lead single Fire Away busts out another stomper that snares you immediately in with its urgent rhythmic acrobatics.
Melodics continue to reign supreme as the These Four Walls gents peek slightly into post hardcore territory on Over & Over, with a particularly emotive vocal delivery from frontman Steve Gibb atop a bewitching wonderland of sprawling choruses and buzzing riffs. Up next, Slow throws out a significant contender for The Soundcheck's best in show - not so much for its flashiness (although there's plenty of sonic pizzazz to go around), but rather for its slow build that showcases each band member's strength, from some especially meaty bass to serpentine vocals and everything in between, building tantalisingly into a chunky rock delight. Hooky, rockin' and easy on the ears, this is These Four Walls evading bland rock allegories and blending their established sound with some modern flourishes.
While there's plenty of thrashing and bashing to appease your head-banging lust (and lord knows we all need a little living room mosh action in these dark times), These Four Walls are also well-established masters at subtlety, with the glistening acoustic ballad Before I'm Gone up next tugging at heartstrings and offering a lush reprieve before the gnarled riffs of Knots and Bravery kick the record into overdrive; the latter particularly whipping up a distorted jungle that is equal parts catchy, caustic and charming (and would undoubtedly only ignite further in a live setting).
Well and truly into the second-half of the album by this point, These Four Walls continue to display their versatility while also straying further into new sonic territories, from clean tones and lingering vocals that would readily invite comparisons to producer Luke Palmer's own iconic band Dead Letter Circus (Silent War, Rock Bottom) to some snarling and theatrical pop punk with the deliciously addictive White Lies, and penultimately some emotional sonic destruction à la The Butterfly Effect with the measured yet powerful Strands.
And while These Four Walls are classed as a hard rock band by many, this innovative quartet soar beyond expectations to close out their third full-length, cementing a classy outing in lush cinematic fashion as Nothingland slowly builds itself into a dramatic soundscape littered with glowing pianos, oscillating guitars and vocals that drizzle right out of your speakers and down into your skin.
Continually striking a captivating balance between explosive and emotive rock, This Is Not A Future genuinely offers up a class act from a band elegantly straddling a significant array of alternative genre realms. And while some of the exploration into the new modern rock world may find many in familiar territory of those who have come before, These Four Walls still continually manage to cultivate their own addictive blends of luxe soundscapes and high-octane thrills that are both relatable and fresh for new and old fans alike. It's a sin this bunch aren't able to tour these brand new tunes in the short-term, but without a doubt the future will offer up even more triumphant sonic exploits for These Four Walls - and that's definitely a future worth waiting for.
BY TIANA SPETER