Chaos, noise, chaos. Or is it noise, chaos, noise? Either way, Baltimore noise rock five-piece Alone Time will issue their debut EP, Bored, on May 26. Tracked, mixed, mastered and put out under the banner of Grimoire Records, the five-song outing clocks in at a vicious, feedback-soaked 14 minutes, and alternates between Black Flag-style lyrical rawness — see “Routine” — and thick-toned ’90s pummel as three three-and-a-half-minute cuts play out with two two-minute cuts between them, surprisingly orderly in its structure and flowing from one song to the next à la a live set even as Alone Time twist and turn and blow out tubes and slay and chaos, noise, chaos. Or is it noise, chaos, noise?
A sudden surge of feedback at the launch of opener “Advice” tells the tale, and all the more so because that’s actually the song starting, not just a kind of introductory formality. The lineup of Adam, Spencer, Ted, Jess and Austyn waste little time in establishing as raw a foundation as possible, and the point seems to be less about holding the material together than letting go of the impulse to try. “Advice” is house-show madness, and the invitation to “Come and See” that follows answers fire with gasoline, a more forward rhythmic drive offset by mathy fret runs and distorted shouts delivered at feverish pace, cycled through twice before “Routine” slams in with its own vaguely directed sear. A hardcore punk progression emerges from the fray running at full sprint, but it’s soon enough given over to churning thrust as the wheels once again come off and the track tears itself apart.
That, of course, is the idea. Happy accident? Not so much as disaffected expression, but whatever you want to call it, Alone Time have it in spades. Their sound is restless fitting to the EP’s title, and nestled between punk, hardcore, noise and angular technicality — they are playing notes in all those unhinged squibbly parts, after all — it hits on a balance both challenging and familiar, building momentum all the while knowing there’s a brick wall up ahead. “Pills” follows “Routine” and is the shortest piece at 1:54 and the jazziest, but a lurching groove lies beneath all that Eastern Seaboard intensity and that carries through into closer “Drunk at Work,” which begins with what sounds an awful lot like Echoplex before playing intermittent blasts and open, swinging verse lines off each other on the way to an oblivion well earned. It may be the product boredom, but ultimately, the EP doesn’t last long enough to inflict that on the listener. Rather, its frenetic pulse courses through fast and is gone with little ceremony or circumstance, and it’s only afterwards that one might realize how much of the chaos, noise, chaos — or was it noise, chaos, noise? — was by design.
Grimoire has Bored out on tape May 26, limited to 100 copies, recorded, mixed and mastered by Noel Mueller. Full stream follows for the daring. Enjoy:
Alone Time is Adam, Spencer, Jess, Ted and Austyn.
“Bored” was recorded on 3/07/2015 at Hour Haus by Noel Mueller of Grimoire Records. Mixed and mastered by Noel Mueller/Grimoire Records. Cover art by William Chapman. © 2015 Grimoire Records.
Amazing audio quality from the masters of tape, at National Audio Company. B/W 2-sided j-card, white shells with black imprint, shrink wrapped with love. Edition of 100.