The Narrows are an alternative, dark, electronic three piece from Manchester whose opaque music makes them prevalent in the new wave of dynamic, electronic bands. Masters of crystalline fusions of synths, drums and guitars, The Narrows are a cerebral band whose intriguing lyrics make them most captivating.
“Noir” is a song which like the film movement of the 1940’s is very much open to interpretation but in my opinion reads like a convoluted murder plot. On the other hand, “Noir” could be a song steeped in metaphors or perhaps is a dreamer’s account of sleep paralysis..!? Interestingly, the nonchalant delivery is in direct contrast against the alarming bleeps and despairing lyrics: “You’re tearing through me like a hurricane. You’re stopping blood from getting to my brain”. Brooding like some atmospheric thriller, it is here where the impressive “Sinclair Spectrum-esque” synths and restless guitars hog the limelight. Although initially linear, Noir’s musical plot thickens when it reaches the line “And I hold your head, and I hold your head…” This is where the drums emerge like a powerhouse of sounds and the wavy synths zigzag like electrical currents across a circuit board.
However, it’s during the outro where the musical components become more intertwined and entangled. In particular, those wavy synths emulate a tortured voice, which morphs into a spaghetti junction of chaotic sounds. A single melody of guitar lashes against the musical backdrop of dark, fluttering synths and a rattle-snake Maraca shakes past almost un-noticed. Tension is paramount, heat is excessive, which ultimately causes high voltage in this cinematic crescendo…
“Screamer” appears to be a song about desire, tinged with danger and elements of self-destruction. Vocally unhinged and sounding in parts like a semi-tortured Matt Bellany, Screamer sounds like an underground Muse, which transcends into a darker ambience without the signature grandiose of Bellany and his friends. Instead Screamer is less self-indulgent, with a range of beating, crunchy and spacey synths whose intricate details sexually align the song.
Lyrically the song is concise, which heightens the sexual undertones of the repetitive lyrics. In particular the line: “I know now, what I’ve become a loaded gun…”, where the exasperated delivery almost suggests an altered state of consciousness, which submerges against the fusion of a steadfast soundscape. With a brooding base and electric mandolins, which grate fiercely, “Screamer” is musically condensed and fluctuates with its interchanging electronic textures. What’s interesting about “Screamer” is the way the guitar plays in juxtaposition against the analogue of synths, which ebb and flow against the brooding bass. In particular during the final outro, where vocals are abandoned, the synths become more diverse indulging in a more automated, rigid sound, which contrasts against the free-flowing slithering synths. It’s through this soundscape that the synths, screechy guitars and scaling electric mandolin encapsulates the sexual and esoteric musical motif.