Young group delivers quality sound
12th House Rock, the newest release from Houston, TX based group Narrow Head, is the anticipated follow up to their 2016 debut album Satisfaction. The 13 track second effort clocks in at just under an hour, and every second of those minutes are laden with the thoughtfully crafted, fuzzy, guitar-driven tunes that allows Narrow Head to further establish themselves as a group to be taken seriously.
The sound of this album is an advancement of the sound present on their debut: heavy, distorted guitar riffs met with crashing percussive force and accompanied by grungy bass lines. The sound is one that is heavily reminiscent of Smashing Pumpkins, certainly an influence for the group consisting of vocalist and lead man Jacob Duarte, drummer Carson Wilcox, guitarists William Menjivar and Kora Puckett and anchoring bassist Ryan Chavez. 12th House Rock contains the same vigorous, abrasive monotone of beautifully harsh sound that can be found in the Pumpkins’ discography.
These instrumental tendencies are on full display within the opening track “Yer’ Song.” The track is truly a quality one: the drawn out, heavy guitars and sobering vocals combine artistically to form a gripping tune that beckons listeners in further. The track is reminiscent of the Deftones’ sound, one that is long, slow and painful but masterful.
The other tracks on 12th House Rock are equally thoughtful in their composition. “Ponderosa Sun Club” features some excellent tempo drumming and “Stuttering Stanley” taps into traditional pop punk elements to create a recognizable sound, particularly in terms of vocals. “Crankcase” reveals the heaviest and darkest point of sound existent on the album, utilizing elements of hard rock, metal and punk to produce a defiant, face melter. “Night Tryst” uses this archetype, with a faster rhythm and added energy, to give the album an added dimension of complexity.
Overall, the album is a resounding testament to the already impressive track record of Narrow Head and speaks to the high quality of sound they are capable of producing. The albums’s haunting, cryptic lyrical themes and competent musicianship do a good job of towing the middle line between too much and too little. The tracks provide enough allure without too much sound or improvisation, providing a healthy mix of grungy, shoegaze-y tracks, some downright head bangers and even some slower, more introspective sentiments such as those displayed in the chilling ballad “Wastrel.” 12th House Rock is a satisfying follow up that signals more good to come.