Album Review: The New Law – “The Fifty Year Storm” (2012)

Let’s get on the same page, if we’re not already. Take some minutes and acquaint yourself with this song before moving to the review:

I don’t know of any other album quite like “The Fifty Year Storm.” Which makes sense, being that I don’t know of any other bands like The New Law. The only resemblance that springs to mind is U.N.K.L.E and, they pale in comparison when speaking of intensity. Both bands embrace electronica as a jumping point (At least early U.N.K.L.E, anyway) in order to go a step further. Where U.N.K.L.E brings in a rock element, The New Law brings in layer upon layer of saxophone melody and sampled Spanish guitar. Both build songs and albums in the traditional Aristotelian epic format, layers in songs and song in albums building toward climax then usually ending with a sense of resolution. The similar elements are there, but it would be unfair to consider The New Law and U.N.K.L.E as anything other than completely different experiences.

“The Fifty Year Storm” feels like a story. Not only in the self aware trajectory of the album, but in the coherence found that comes from this thoughtfulness. It would not be irresponsible to classify the album’s style as “hyper textural western trip hop.” The tempo of the album, save a few moments, is high throughout. Even when, as in the opening to “Voyage” they slow down for a moment, the potential energy is evident. In order not to tease the audience to pain, they deliver a very “Amon Tobinesque” beat about one minute and thirty seconds into the song. Wonderfully, and unfortunately, there are very few electronic acts around that can accomplish influencing someone to write that last sentence.

From the front to the end of the closing track and album namesake, “The Fifty Year Storm” is well worth an hour of your time.The album skirts the common E and IDM downfall of repetitiveness gracefully. Given that it’s entirely beat driven and heavy on the saxophone, this is no light accomplishment. Some of the best beat driven albums I know of (Sixtoo’s “Jackals and Vipers in Envy of Man,” etc.)  tend to get repetitive once you pass the halfway mark. Additionally, as sexy as the saxophone is, I’ve often found it’s use outside of jazz tiresome after a short time. Well done, gentlemen. Well done.

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