Like trying to get some surly teen to tidy their pit, you won’t get much change out of the enterprise if you don’t have a fair old vat of patience and understanding.
When you see a black CD cover with just the band and album name adorning it,(we’re talking the promo cover here) you can pretty much guess the moody trip you’re in for. Still I suppose you can do what you want if you’ve been around for as long as Bailterspace; last time I read about them - or heard their music - must have been at least 15 years or so ago. I’m sure they were on Matador at the time I was checking out anything on that label due to my Guided By Voices obsessions.
A moody and truculent listen from the off, Strobosphere nevertheless has a few moments that make it worth your while. The band used to make the sort of thrashy noise rock that hasn’t, on this listen, really changed much, especially in terms of attitude: they are still happy with developing the same Generation X racket. And as such you just have to accept this slacker attitude. Like trying to get some surly teen to tidy their pit, you won’t get much change out of the enterprise if you don’t have a fair old vat of patience and understanding. The record starts off in this vein: Things That We Found is a slow, morose and pretty aimless trudge through a barren landscape, the odd guitar lick pointing the way. The title track follows the same pattern albeit at a slightly faster pace. Blue Star is an okay enough strum with a soft but fairly lackadaisical vocal line, sludgy and offhand in the way that first Teenage Fanclub LP was. It’s not the most prepossessing of openings but there again it’s not especially meant to be.
The pace kicks up with Polarize and No Sense, both of which growl and snarl their way through a crunching three minutes. Meeting Space is the first real hint of the band pushing a melody and harmony on; and a nice, restrained, subtle one it is too. Island has a quick change of pace too, which counters the scuzz, whereas DSet is my favourite a firecracker of whirling guitar licks and yelping vocals that have something of Iggy about them. We’re back to strolling pace at times with with Op1 and Live By the Ocean. Last track World We Share is by contrast to the fuzzed up, blurry sounds that have preceded it, a snarling, sharp and burnished meditation, and a great send off.
If you need some drifting, off focus, growly rock, then you could do worse.