[Wytwórnia Krajowa, 2016]
Intro: Dimitris Kaltsas
Translation: Alexandros Mantas
16 / 12 / 2016
Niechęć is a “typical” case of a modern band which is far from typical, with a strong personal style, that astounds us out of nowhere. Their second self-titled album is one of the well-kept secrets in the basement of 2016. They give a very successful description of their own sound: Dark but romantic, aggressive but full of elegance. Shrill insanity recorded live and fastened in a straitjacket of first-class studio production. Jazz improvisation and synth sounds are effortlessly combined with prog rock and film music influences, eluding any attempts of categorization.
When jazz is combined with talent and the creative inclination of bridging the gap between the assorted musical styles, then the results are pretty astonishing. The Polish meet all of the above prerequisites, a fact that was evident from their first releases. Their debut Śmierć w miękkim futerku (2012) stirred the interest right off the bat, attracting fans and audiences of miscellaneous preferences. The sophisticated combination of mature (for a relatively new-founded group) themes and improvisational virtues, filtered through atmospheric passages, is by all means their great advantage. This is not a hasty conclusion based on a possible enthusiasm but on the great form they are in, compositional- and playing-wise, the last few years and the made sure to drop a reminder with this release.
For our own good fortune, Niechęć didn’t ride the coattails of the artistic success of their first album. On the contrary they cultivated and enriched all these elements they put to use to take us by storm. With an evident disposition for renewal and delve more deeply into experimentations, they present eight independent multifaceted stories. The unrestrained improvisations of the past are replaced by interchanges between the themes, the moods and the dynamics. The bet of balancing anew the inspired aggressiveness and the idyllic landscapes is masterly won and perhaps this is the core of their inspiration.
Recorded live, the material gives away a harsh feeling where it must, stopping short from messing around with the clarity and the lucid texture of the picture. This is a proof how much hard work they have put to tighten the band and into the automation of the interchanges between the musicians. Their atmospheric passages are in pride of place. They are instrumental in keeping the essence, they contribute to the integrity of each composition and they are not just fillers between the outbreaks. On the other hand the arrangements are ingenious, allowing to all the instruments (the brass section, keyboards, guitar, drums) to contribute, whether on their own or blending together, to a solid chemistry.
Any other attempt to pigeonhole their music is futile, even though some components of alternative rock -even post-rock- are more than evident, yet jazz (and its experimental forms) remains the integral part of coherence. The reasonable durations of the songs work wonders for the listener to absorb the basic ideas and their development. Songs that may stand out are Koniec, with plentiful Canterbury influences, Rajza, which fans of Tortoise will surely like, Metanol with its elegant romanticism, Krew and Atak with their nightmarish and often unpredictable outbreaks. It is an A-class material, ideal for the soundtrack of a psychological thriller.
From SBB to Michał Urbaniak of yesterday, to Riverside and now Niechęć , Poland, thanks to its distinct culture, goes on to surprise us with remarkable musicians and bands through progressive’s wide spectrum. It makes its presence felt with Niechęć who show that they have plenty to give, as long as they reinvent their musical identity with every release to keep the bar high and the audience’s interest alive. So far they have succeeded. They have the talent, the vision and the freshness required at times where the need for quality music is as imperative as ever. One of the best releases of the year.
9 / 10
In their second self-titled album, the Polish Niechęć pull off to merge jazz with progressive rock and post-rock with flying colours, avoiding the black spots of the specific genres no less, concentrating on the compositions and functioning as a uniform ensemble. The listener is rewarded by eight dark, yet delightful compositions. The formless melodies and the soft moments interchange with more stressful avant-garde themes in an overly adventurous musical roller coaster, where moderation never goes out of the window. Niechęć is one of the best jazz albums, in a wider sense, that you are about to listen to this year and is a must for every fan of quality instrumental music.
9 / 10