NI – Dedoda

NI – Dedoda

It isn’t a word that finds a lot of use in music reviews nowadays, but if ever a band deserved be the described as ‘angular’, then that band is undoubtedly Austrian post-rock instrumentalists NI. Comprised of three guitarists and a drummer, NI formed around a decade ago and are continuing to pursue their artistic vision, one which takes a direct influence from the Dadaist artists of the 1920s, fuelled by their (I’m making assumptions now) shared appreciation of German Neue Welle bands such as Die Krupps, Palais Schaumburg and Einstürzende Neubauten. Add to this their penchant for wordless vocalising and their virulent, turbulent instrumentation and you have a band that, while they aren’t pursuing the free-form improvised style characteristic of many present day German bands whose music can often be found on the influential Bureau B label, present us with a set of nerve-jangling and verging on the chaotic yet highly-structured tunes, performed with the sort of seemingly random attention to detail that characterises the most innovative experimental bands.

Listening to NI reminded me of more or less everything I appreciate about some of my own favourite indie-rock bands; such as the dimly-recalled but still theoretically active Clinic, with whom they share an on-stage penchant for matching band outfits; the instrumental commitment that Foals can bring to their craft; the knowing half-hidden grins of Art Brut; and The Fall with Mark E. Smith on spoons instead of vocals. I won’t suggest, and NI themselves would very probably deny that they are musical geniuses, but Dedoda, with its live-in-the studio sound, reveals NI as a group whom you should go out of your way to see if their tour schedule ever brings them within your acceptable travel distance.

As it is, it doesn’t seem as if NI ever do very much in the way of gigs away from Austria, and their colourfully absurdist stage show might not be visiting a club venue near you anytime soon, so my only suggestion is to listen to Dedoda and make your own visual accompaniment to it, while appreciating NI’s ability to alternate blistering intensity with subtlety and depth, their raw yet sophisticated instrumentation, and the fact that Dedoda is quite probably the best album from Austria that you’ll hear in 2017. NI’s mixture of structure and improvisation, and their propulsive ensemble sound, is a compulsive, occasionally challenging and sometimes baffling forty or so minutes of post-rock artistry.