Naked On the Vague – Blood Pressure Sessions

Naked On the Vague
Blood Pressure Sessions

I regularly rant about the use of the term Post-Punk. Whenever I get into one of these rants, it is almost always about what is not Post-Punk and No Wave. The term is thrown around so often these days that it’s really tough to even take myself seriously when I attempt to use these classifications to label a band. But, it is my duty as an album reviewer to take myself completely seriously (kidding) and continue to make assertions on what is and isn’t said genres.

Lesson #2- No Wave; an example:
Naked On the Vague serve as a perfect example of what it takes to make a successful No Wave album in the current state of musical affairs. Although their sound is bleak and apocalyptic, almost making for a perfect soundtrack for Eraserhead, they don’t try to pull off jacking DNA’s sound; doing so is a big no-no. Due to the spirit of No Wave, a spirit based on creativity and challenge, the cardinal rule is to always have your own sound. Even while comparing Naked On the Vague to Teenage Jesus, or to my newfound favorite related groups Your Funeral and Jeri Rossi (who was the lead singer for Your Funeral), the comparison is really very unfounded. Those are the initial comparisons I make based upon singer’s voice and mood of an album, but not on composition and actual style after multiple listens.

Another smart move made on Blood Pressure Sessions is not sticking to a single sound. Although they might not sound too different at first, No Wave bands have almost always worked best in a Singles and Live setting because of the differing sounds and various shades of black in their sound. Naked On the Vague manage to pull together a cohesive, solid album that moves from thick, suffocating layers to sparse drum and bass compositions. Sometimes spiraling out of control with heavy layers of reverb and distortion, making a psychedelic frenzy ( i.e. “The Beach Pt. 2 (Black Sun)”), the track is always reeled back in through a countering song. At times the beat is thick enough to inspire a dance, but do not expect any Liars “dance-punk;” even the coked-up drum machine on “Mother’s Footsteps” is balanced out by plenty of shrieks, feedback squeals, and distorted noise.

Naked On the Vague’s Blood Pressure Sessions has proved to me once and for all that genres don’t die, even ones based less on a sound and more on principles/situations. Although many bands tagged as No Wave will never actually hold a candle to their heroes, I feel confident asserting that if this was released 30 years ago, it would be studied and discussed with fervor just as other No Wave classics are getting treated today.