24 Sep 2022 - Thorsten
Post-Punk, Noise-Rock | Neurot Recordings | Release date: 30 Sep 2022 | Favorite song: Filaments
A short attention span is a characteristic for any new generation it seems. At least that’s what every older generation says about the younger ones, that’s been the case for decades now. Maybe the older ones are just not fast enough? When listening to Tension Span’s full-length debut The Future Died Yesterday one might get an ambivalent impression as it seems as if the band has been lost in the 80’s for good. Their record plays with all the great genres that characterized that decade and as if the 30+ years since are not worth mentioning. Have they lost all their attention after ‘89?
If you ever had the chance to see Noah Landis live, you will know what an extraordinary keyboard player he is: Not only is he a maestro on the keys, but he also performs like a Tasmanian devil, never really standing still but pushing his keyboard stand, shoving it and ultimately also bowling it over, at least each time I saw him perform live. In Tension Span he is not behind the keys and synths but delivering the vocals, just like he did in his old hardcore band Christ on Parade (back then still under the stage name “Noah Lowance”) - but one can imagine him being a restless singer as well. Just as restless is his vocal performance on the band’s first full-length, which consists of 13 tracks, four of which were already released on a digital EP back in June as a kind of preview. Landis’ vocals are very hardcore-like and somewhat reminding of MDC’s Dave Dictor or Dead Kennedys’ Jello Biafra. However, on some tracks, Noah also shows a talent for clean vocals, most prominently on the post-punk inspired ”Filaments”, where Siouxsie and her Banshees seem to be lurking into Tension Span’s rehearsal room, with a lot of really nice short, chopped-off guitar hooks supported by some good pumping beats from the rhythm section.
That the next track, ”Ventilator” is a straightforward, noise-rock track in the vein of AmRep or SST is just another proof of the trio’s roots in (anarcho-) punk like Crass or Subhumans, this is a clear “No Bullshit”-record. The title also speaks volume - The Future Died Yesterday because too many people didn’t care when we basically killed our planet, our society, our good common sense. Noah also quotes an idea by poet E.E. Cummings: ”Pity this busy monster, Man-un-kind.” with the neologism indicating Cummings’ and Landis’ point of view. We could have created a beautiful place for us, but we turned into a monster that doesn’t care about the others.
When ”I Have To Smile” opens up with a feverish new wave bassline and calm, open drum beats, one can imagine the whole band performing this song into a frenzy. It shows like all the other tracks that Tension Span surely have something to say, they are not in it just for the fun of it but to show up what is going wrong and to put the finger into the wound. When listening carefully one might feel some kind of uneasiness – that is surely intentional. The shrill, hectic and powerful guitar lines provided by Geoff Evans from Asunder and Matt Parrillo from Dystopia and Kicker cannot hide their roots and the intention to kick some people’s butts of their sofas and into a severe reality check.
Tension Span is surely a great addition to Neurot Recordings’ roster, which is very often very earthy, because the sheer gasoline adrenaline pumping through these 45 minutes cannot be denied and if you are looking for some anarcho-travel back into the 80s with a band that can teach many younger bands what Punk really is. Their hectic nature has nothing to do with a short attention span but rather with fear for what the future still holds for us, because we buried it yesterday.