SINGLE REVIEW: Neoplastic – ‘Love, Barely’


Neoplastic are a band from Hull, they play post-punk. There is probably one more thing you should know, that is that the band was formerly known as the band King Orange.

This may – or may not, it entirely depends on the level of your curiosity – prompt you to wonder whether the name change indicates a step change in their sound. Well, yes and no, the band’s last release under the name King Orange – the EP ‘Another Collapse In The Park’ – did mark a change in their sound. The band indicate that by simply including it in their Spotify profile alongside this release.

Another question you should be asking yourself is what kind of post-punk the band plays. I’ll get to that, read on.

‘Love, Barely’ is a truly majestic track. It combines the harsh sparseness of Bauhaus, the demented harsh guitar riffing of ‘Scream’ period Siouxsie and the Banshees, the industrial bleakness of Joy Division and something of the sound of early Cure. So, you may be thinking, this isn’t exactly unique; but wait for there is more. Somehow in amongst the switches between bleak sparseness and screamingly loud harsh guitar, the band introduce something of an alternative 80s’ pop sound – perhaps the slightly off-kilter sound of The Associates or even the wide vast sound of Simple Minds.

But enough of this musical name-dropping, the key thing is what it sounds like as a whole. It’s majestic (as I said), gothic (not Goth, I hasten to add), compelling, dark and unsettling. There is nothing smooth about the transitions between sparse and unbelievably dense; they come unexpectedly and jarringly. The whole is held together by that post-punk pulse of bass and drums that go from industrial beats to all out thrash at the drop of a drumstick. The sheer musical ability on display is astounding.

And while all this glorious music is happening, there are words that intrigue, that make you want to listen again and again in an effort to work out what the song is about. And I’m sorry, I can’t assist you with this. It’s up to you to do this. And you should know that the vocals continue with the somewhat declaimed post-punk feel, a demented preacher we may call it.

Neoplastic have made something special with ‘Love, Barely’, something with a bleak beauty that is going to leave you emotionally drained and musically exhilarated.

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Frank is the website guy for Local Sound Focus. Takes a lot of photos and loves writing about new music.