Here’s another example of a debut record where we’ve covered a LOT of what’s come before and with that comes the fear that when it all comes together, the results might sound stale. While that could be the case with many a young outfit, A Cause In Distress is simply on another level when it comes to the strength of the songwriting, the songs themselves, and their overall sound making said previously released songs these sort of anchors to balance it all throughout the sonic fabric woven within debut full-length In Search Of Spring.
For the uninitiated, UK’s A Cause In Distress is like a heavy Radiohead or the sound of UNKLE creating a whole record with the late, great Gavin Clark (“Broken”, “Against The Grain”) at the mic. And then some. But different. Their bio reads: “The lovechild of Nine Inch Nails, Fugazi & Radiohead, if it was fathered by David Lynch.” and that’s pretty spot on when looking for the definitive dish on what’s ultimately an Indie aesthetic with a Punk mentality that’s heightened by Industrial/Electro flourishes. All in all, it’s hard not to be enamored by the ACID sound once it hits.
“Slugs In Salt” is a tone setter with the lush vocals of Liam Watkins coming off vibrant while exquisitely vibrating amongst the delicate hum of the instrumental blanket that envelopes before “Paraffin” (Originally released in April of 2021) makes its’ pointed presence known. When heard in the context of In Search Of Spring, the track seems to say so much more with a crisper sound and more bite if that’s even possible.
The most recent single, “Limbic Smog”, pops up next and shines and sparkles with twinkling synths and some percussive perfection with the most precise hits that build into a stunning Groove for a symphony of styles that swirls around like an aural tornado before culminating in an explosive finale. Then there’s “Modern Commerce” which, if possible, sounds even more grand here. That looping bass drone is slightly fuzzier, there’s more synthetic sounds adding an Electro heft, and the first time the chorus enters it’s a little more epic sounding. Add this CRAZY piano-driven outro tacked on this version and fans who listened to the original version released in January of 2021 over and over again (Like we did) have a brand new version to gel with.
Spilling out if that is “Like A Narcoleptic…”, a somber little soliloquy that changes the mood and shows off yet again that even when taking the minimalist approach Watkins and Dominic Robinson deliver dynamic delights. “…Asleep” completes the statement that “Like A Narcoleptic…” began but like the flip side of a coin ends it in a decidedly more upbeat way hurtling towards a climax with an urgency immediately felt the second the track opens. “Lumbering” hums its’ way in next and also is ever so slightly updated for In Search Of Spring with an added ethereal air as Watkins’ falsetto serves as a nice counterpoint to those precise programmed beats. Speaking of beats, “Submission” is just all of that and everything in between with Robinson and Watkins conjuring an eclectic aural atmosphere and a whirlwind of sounds that’s just the raddest three minutes to sit back to and experience.
Then a 3-pronged attack of unreleased gems serves as the final act in the In Search Of Spring playbook with “Pages Adjacent” taking the stage first for a driving, rumbling number that is relentless in its’ fervor and goes big for a broad conclusion. “Dead Swans” is yet another interesting outlier within the matrix for a track whose swooping synths mesh nicely with the crushing guitars which conjure up this chaotic energy that leads to a blistering finale as Watkins really opens up with some powerful screams followed by album ender “Buried Hatchet, Long Grass” that’s similarly spacious, complex, and simmering all at once as Watkins delivers the final lines amidst an almost playful piano before the skies open up for a cacophony of orchestrated noise that closes the record quite, dare we say, perfectly?
In Search Of Spring drops on November 3rd through Cool Thing Records and you can pre-order yours here or here. For more from A Cause In Distress, follow the trail of socials by clicking here, here, or here.