In the Basque town of Mungia, a little band led the charge in reigniting a genre that people said was dying. Way back in February, Belako unleashed Render Me Numb, Trivial Violence, which was fifty-one minutes of pure adrenaline. The record featured the band’s unique, cathartic blend of post-punk, indie-rock, krautrock, and electro-rock. Or in other words, they took the best elements of Savages, Wolf Alice, Warpaint, and Foals and put them into one outstanding record.
The LP features one of the year’s best opening sets of songs. It begins with the dark and explosive banger “Maskenfreiheit”, the even more explosive “Lungs”, and the politically-charged titan “Two Faced Simulation”. At this point, most bands would ease up on the accelerator but not Belako. Instead, they amp the rhythms and the darkness on the heart-racing “Over the Edge” and the searing krautrock of “Nice Church”.
Things slow down ever so slightly in the second half. The companion pieces “Stumble” and “Stumble II” are chilling accounts of one delving into the depths of their fears. “Strangers In a Box” is a sultry, film-noir number straight out from the ’70s. The volume once again increases on “Render Me Numb”, which echoes the fuzzed-out pop-rock coming out of Scandinavia. Belako then go moody Sonic Youth on the grizzled “Hegodun Baleak II“.
Besides its energy, the variety displayed is what makes Render Me Numb, Trivial Violence memorable. The record is a sonic roller coaster, except instead of four minutes this exhilarating trip lasts nearly an hour. And like all great rides, it’s worth queuing up again and again.
Cristina Lizarraga, Josu Ximun Billelabeitia, Lander Zalakain Martinez, and Lore Nekane Billelabeitia are Belako. Render Me Numb, Trivial Violence is out now via Primavera Sound’s in-house label El Segell.
To review the first 25 of our Favorite Albums of 2018, click here.
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