By: Aaron Kent

Niagara | website | facebook |   soundcloud |

Released on April 29, 2016 via Monotreme Records

There’s something slightly 65DOS-esque about Niagara, but also completely nothing 65DOS-esque about them. That’s the sort of contradiction we are talking here, a duo that defies any sort of label, but at the same time could really do with finding the slightest hint of a genre. They sound like what would happen if Aphex Twin played Ibiza, but Niagara would be out of place in both Ibiza, and at an Aphex Twin concert.

Niagara aren’t at Aphex levels yet, and they will almost certainly never get there (I mean, who does?), but Hyperocean is a nice as stepping stone along the path. There are some fascinating tracks, even if they aren’t coherently formed in a rather haphazard track-list. ‘Escher Surfers’ for example is a weird dance track that at first sounds like it will be rather cheesy, but is actually quite enjoyable, and upbeat.

The music throughout is definitely more interesting than the vocals, and the lyrics aren’t exactly poetry. Yet, the duo need to work out what they want to achieve, because at the moment it sounds like a Ministry of Sound CD where somebody dug out anything that looked like it would fit and hoped for the best. The album’s biggest let down is that it has been made with little to no care about the track-list, or even about a theme for the album. Think the wonderful The Life of Pablo without Kanye’s ego holding the whole thing together. Kanye can pull it off because his Yeezian self-reflection allows for a mess – Niagara doesn’t.

This is all just a roundabout way of saying Niagara are ok. Ok being the key word there, not good, not fine, just ok. There is definitely potential for goodness, and the band could potentially find it should they shed some of the less-interesting songs, such as ‘Fogdrops’ and lose some of the trippyness. I mean, we get it, trippy is good – it gave us Pet Sounds – but there has to be some form of grounding, which Niagara don’t have. And, unfortunately, it feels like they never will.

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