Neutral – Neutral – LP (MLR 012)
Released in March 2016.
In a sweaty art space open to no one and just a stone’s throw away from the Utmarken venue where it all in more than one way kind of began, Neutral did their first show in front of maybe 25 people. The free jazz drummer Peeter Uuskyla opened the night with a shimmering set of absurd, life-elevating bliss and Neutral just ripped it all apart. There and then sort of Gothenburg underground ground zero, or more like ground nothing. New beginnings and grey waves of something very exciting. It’s been close to 2 years now but it’s one of those nights that I will remember forever. Since then I’ve seen Neutral on several occasions and it’s always been a pleasure, always refining their craft but at the same time shredding the improvement to tiny pieces with every heartbeat. It’s like they are taking one step forward and two steps back with every minute they produce, and in a very rare and weird way getting better and more interesting doing so.
The untitled second album, following up Grå Våg Gamlestaden (Omlott, 2014), does just that. It takes everything that made the debut album so special and puts it in a rusty meat grinder, taking a piss on the deconstructed mess and puts it together again, piece by piece. The formula might be almost identical, but the final outcome is different. Where the debut was immediate and fairly easy to resonate with, the new album is almost impossible to penetrate at first. You can sense that there’s something resembling a ragged beauty somewhere, but it’s hard to reach. It’s like Neutral deliberately placed various obstacles along the way, fucking with everyone’s expectations and rightfully so. Still, after each time spent with those 35 minutes things will slowly unfold themselves and there you are, pleased with one of the most fully realized and beautiful recordings to ever come from the shitfaced Utmarken camp of misunderstood geniuses. Yeah, I actually heard them all. Neutral manages to connect the dots between everything from Chrome and Siltbreezian gold from the 90’s to the more experimental sides of Dome, while throwing in some tape work that could only originate from Gothenburg and brutish guitar playing bringing JFK, Skullflower and maybe even rock-era Ramleh to mind at times. Let’s not forget the mysterious field recordings scattered along the way, and Sofie Herners dry, talked vocals, leading at least this listener to the realization that there’s no end to this fucking winter.
– Matthias Andersson, January 2016
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