Night Carriage – Plinth Album Review

Ochrus Records – 2021

A debut release in two parts, this is the debut album from Paul Chave under Night Carriage moniker as well as the first release on the newly formed Lincoln based Ochrus Records. Chave having previously worked with the likes of Grassic, Bat Flattery and Original Pilot Project. This album was written, produced and recorded entirely by Chave and its a testament to each of those elements.

The sound is raw and untempered, but that only adds to the grinding drive that each track brings. With riffs that reminisce in the feeling 90’s grunge Smashing Pumpkins on the likes of “Keds” that will have you head-banging from the opening moment. Being the only instrumental on the album it delivers in providing enough energy and prowess that you just know that in a live setting these songs are going to be shaking the walls of any venue. This sound is also felt on “Whiz (New Manifesto)” as the sound glitches in to action until just harsh, bursting riffs and snarling vocals kick in to drive the track fully into motion.

Although the melodies on opener “Janus” may at first seem unconventional, you soon realise how quickly they get stuck in your head. Lo-fi riffs and alternative vocals that dance about the soundscape and left-field turns leave you truly encapsulated until you’re humming it as you try to sleep. An ever expanding song that is ready to explode out of itself.

Title track “Plinth” moves the album into more of synthesised sound as various layers of pads and synthesisers swirl over each other as Chave’s buried vocals try and emerge through the mix. As the lines of “It’s hard” become more and more present you feel as if you’re swirling about through Chave’s psyche as these ideas of holding accountability become more and more present in his mind.

Closing the album “Bear Trap” is perhaps the most intimate sound on this collection of songs. Opening with a melancholy riff that is backed by dark imagery as Chave ponders “I thought my coffin would be white, instead it’s charcoal scarred from the inferno inside”. The track then brings in the grinding riffs and searing lead lines that evoke some of the heights of Nothing’s most recent album The Great Dismal.

One thing that you hear when listening to this album is a lot of potential from the Night Carriage project. There are some aspects of the sound that still need to be refined and defined but still you can hear the raw ideas that Chave is instigating. The sound play and textures within are true to the nature in which they were written and the lyrics are raw and honest. Chave has planted the seeds for this project, now let’s see what can be grown from this promising beginning.

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