08 Nov 2019 - Thorsten
Post-Everything | The Flenser | Release date: 08 Nov 2019
A few years ago, Have a Nice Life published a manifesto: “We believe in all of the following: complete self-autonomy, cooperation towards shared goals, contradictions, home recording, home distr[i]bution [sic], idealistic capitalism, creating art as if no one else existed, the necessity of doing Awesome and Intense things with your life, being prolific, and not letting anyone ignore us, no matter what.”
In these lines, to be found on their website enemieslist.net they want to clarify their own vision of a new society, of art and of themselves as humans. The world should change towards a more shared-togetherness, we’re in this together now. Creating art should be idealistic without the big buck in mind. Everybody should try to be the best and the most peaceful version of themselves they could be. If we now apply this to their third album Sea of Worry, there is nothing more to say than: Perfection achieved!
The album is clearly self-recorded – just listen to the imperfect wavey-ness “Everything we Forget”, any self-important producer would have tried to even it out in order to make it more sinus-like so that the highs and lows are more clearly distinguishable; Tim Macuga and Dan Barrett don’t do that. It has this typical HANL-flow, nothing seems out of place and it shows what a band like Radiohead could be capable of today if their background was more classic bleakness and not shiny, sparkly 80s early Brit-pop (even though some new wave sparks can also be found this record). The sounds of Sea of Worry are made with synthesizers but the band has the ability of a guy like DJ Shadow to make artificial sounds seem like utter natural water flowing over a lotus leaf and into a huge pond of corroded metal, only to birth a beautiful flower stem out of the rotten orange. Even distorted walls of sound with their black metal blastbeats shining through the industrial wallowing of a far-off sea rescue buoy in the middle of a raging thunderstorm are never intended to disturb the listener.
An album like this will never be a million-seller, Have a Nice Life will never perform as the headliner in Wembley Stadium, but those who know them, will follow them forever, as they – and this is a very important factor for the band – they rather remain silent for years and years before releasing something halfheartedly – it’s the old ‘L’art pour l’art’. And there will be fans who will not like this – more bass-driven and a bit uptempo version of HANL, but again, Tim and Dan are not in it for them, but for themselves.
The most disturbing moment on this record is certainly the spoken word intro to the final opus “Destinos” when you hear a preacher’s bible studies in which he questions God’s moral character for if he is so good how can he create such a negative place like hell and send people there while on the other hand being able to forgive some of the most horrible beings? Interestingly these proto-black-metal-questions are being drenched out by growing chants and an acoustic guitar before it puts layer on layer, flowing into an intense post-metal part and leaving the audience speechless in front of the stage.
There was never a need for a band that mixes Ulver, Joy Division, Crowbar, Sonic Youth and Current 93 – hell, there was never even a shared space between those bands – but Have a Nice Life show again that with time, passion, a love for detail and a good measure of musical braveness such diverse origins can flow into timeless music. Another manifesto.