Occasionally, the need for the polish is cast to one side for something a little rougher around the edges. For a band seeking to define the notion of what it means to be a ‘real’ rock band, while juggling their own responsibilities, Belfast-based MASK are evoking a pre-punk style perhaps able to offer a sympathetic shoulder to reinvigorate. Borrowing shades of BRMC, the band are solidified with a genuine bond and with a use of vintage style equipment they look to redefine the retro experience for the modern age.
This is a sound that is not looking to hide behind studio-trickery, and instead offers a more improvised feel. Often around a single bass hook with a smattering of simplistic rhythm circling round to crescendo; the formula seems to be one of rinse and repeat. This is by no means a polished experience, nor was it intended to be. Amp-rippling disruption and a vinyl-evoking crackle throughout are the standout features of an intended raw sound, achieved in a single recorded take. The levels drown the vocals into obscurity, but actually accentuates this as a band performance, and is perhaps this is what is implied with notions of ‘real-ness’.
The drums sound dusted down from the back of a lost-and-found pub kit, with the bass skin ready to tear wide open. And it’s what’s found just behind that lies at the heart of the magic. It’s the rhythm that is at the fore, leaving space for your input as a listener. The stage is set and the lighting is dimmed, inviting a conga line of toe-tapping applause suddenly emanating from your neighbours to cheer you along for the ride.