Long-standing post punk crusaders Snapline are back with their third full-length album – their first in six years – a schizoid, prophetic, and downright manic journey through Chen Xi and company’s fractured reality where neurosises, technology, and broken systems are found hand in hand, decaying our society from the inside out. It make take a bit of easing in, particularly for those not accustomed to Chen Xi’s delivery – dry, clinical, and deranged beyond repair – but once you jump onto his wavelength there’s tons of madcap fun to be had. Eventually, amongst the repetition of the synthesizers, the cutting and dicing of the guitar and bass you eventually begin to take Xi’s rants, repeated over and over again, as manifesto and what a dark and terrifying world we have conjured up for ourselves. It’s insanity at its most sane.
Chengdu producer Heeze mixes fantasy and romance on the buoyant and fluid debut Fragrance Of Memory released on Babel Records earlier last month. Digging into the memories of his past the young artist Hezze conjures up an unique aroma and universe that’s not afraid to dip into the sugary rush of being young and helplessly in love with the world around you – whether that be playing video games (a large influence on the artist’s music) or daydreaming away in the bedroom. Whimsy, fantastical, and full of soulful beats and wistful piano keys that wash over you, it’s Japanese anime mashed up with R&B, a video game soundtrack made for lovestruck fools. The perfect antidote to a sub-zero winter.
Rising Beijing post-punk outfit The White Paper came charging out the gate with their wide-eyed anxiety-ridden debut I’m Not Happy. Paying tribute to the bombastic and more electronically-propelled sounds of Manchester in the 1980s, the band offers a more melodic and easily digestible brand of post-punk that’s still manages to pack a punch. And while the edges may not have quite the jagged bite the genre demands and needs to feel truly dangerous, there’s no denying the talent on display here – from the way the synths rev up the chaos to the slower more lyrically-rich entrees, or even to the Mario-soundbites the band are able to sneak into the tracklist. The White Papers keep it old school, keep it tight, and keep it fun – sometimes that’s all you need.