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Tuesday, 15 July 2014 10:57

Album review: White Lung exhales punk aggression on 'Deep Fantasy'

Album review: White Lung exhales punk aggression on 'Deep Fantasy'
Written by Alex Cunningham
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White Lung
"Deep Fantasy"
Domino

Vancouver quartet White Lung keeps a frenzied tempo for the entirety of "Deep Fantasy," maintaining raw intensity before reaching an abrupt halt.

While "Deep Fantasy" unashamedly lacks variety in terms of strong structure, its 20-minute running time prevents the blueprint from growing stale. Lead single "Drown the Monster" sets the formula for the rest of the record, with frontwoman Mish Way's sneer commanding White Lung's rhythm section onslaught.

Way's vocals and lyrics form the obvious album highlight, exploring issues including substance abuse, rape and body image with an unparalleled ferocity. Way successfully pairs emotionally resonant subject matter with sonically savage instrumentals, a combination displayed most effectively on album highlight "I Believe You." These are short songs with big ideas.

While Way's vocals are a primary focus, the interplay between guitarist Kenneth William and bassist Hether Fortune takes center stage throughout. William effortlessly glides between floating lead lines and Melvins-esque grind to match Fortune's crawling bass lines. "Just For You" and closing track "In Your Home" display the full potential of this relationship. White Lung successfully subverts three-chord punk rock clichés, displaying disciplined musicianship without betraying feral intensity.

"Deep Fantasy" only falters in its aesthetics, with big budget production lending a sterile sheen to some of White Lung's rawest elements. Radio-friendly drum production leaves Anne-Marie Vassiliou's unhinged attack recalling overproduced pop punk. Every kick drum strike comes across with an institutional cleanliness that begs for the grimier production job of 2012's "Sorry." White Lung overcomes this misstep via the strength of its material, rendering "Deep Fantasy's" production job an unfortunate occurrence rather than an unforgiveable error.

Despite exploring narrow territory, "Deep Fantasy" documents the sound of a young group at the height of its talents. Future efforts will hopefully find White Lung incorporating fresher elements into its already proven approach.

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