For the uninitiated, Bailterspace have been around since 1987 but haven’t made a record for a decade or so. So it’s been easy to miss them. They grew out of the Flying Nun scene in New Zealand but theirs was never a sound that fitted with the classic Dunedin sound, they have always been too ornery, too damn noisy. And noisy they remain; their tunes are buried like diamonds in a coal mine.
Theirs is a muscular sound a kind of hob-nailed version of Shoegaze (Bootgaze?), it has that drifting quality but on an industrial scale; ‘Blue Star’ sounds like My Bloody Valentine played on bedsprings. The guitars are thick and heavy, the vocals buried in the mix. Pleasure comes from the cathartic blast of guitars and the wispy promise of melody. It’s a thrilling sound, one to immerse yourself in.
The single ‘No Sense’ features Alister Parker’s vocals in a place where you can actually hear them clearly, the dark growl of the music sounds how Interpol might have if they’d taken the stabilisers off their sound. They are fantastically skilled at holding the tension between a decent into pure noise and maintaining the semblance of something that can be recognized as a tune, ‘Meeting Place’ contains the germs of something that could explode into a power pop supernova. It doesn’t though, it keeps everything tightly wound, it is Rock music as a black hole. It is dense but not impenetrable ‘Live by the Ocean’ dials back the noise, the guitars still thrum with menace, the vocals drive the song and offers up, if not a hook, a knot of melody that you can grab onto.
You don’t buy Bailterspace records for the pop songs, you buy them for the visceral thrill, the throb of guitars bass and drums all locked together, the title track being a perfect example the guitars wind-milling around the drums as resonant and heavy as Jodrell Bank. The bass feels like the beginning of a headache, and yet, and yet the whole thing coheres into a juggernaut of bliss.