Album Review – 18PM Vol.2 by 18PM (2021) (self released)
Los Angeles based duo Zach Sulak and Ryan England, AKA 18PM, revel in the defiance of uncluttered simplicity. Their bandcamp bio perfectly assumes theIR general aesthetic, stating:
In a world with flashy and complex music production, we stick out as the antithesis to this. Our music aims to sound no more than what it is: two guys with a laptop and some guitars, writing songs that we hope our audience can scream in their cars on their way to work.
It is the ‘some guitars’ bit that is not afforded the justice it deserves. For 18PM have genuinely mastered the spacious sense of isolation that is so perfect in much of modern day jangle-gaze and in the jangly post-punk of yesteryear and married it to a subtle sense of synth.
As such the guitars of Control, Leftright, Didthistime and Pretending juxtapose the laconic gaze of the early Wake In June or Punchlove aesthetic and add the sort of genuine jangled melodies that the more muscular end of the Fort Not sound revels in. Whereas Cathedral Bells ‘chime’ is omniptent in the albums genuine standouts of Five Hours and Cyanide.
Even after listening to the initial few tracks, somehow the album seems to promise some sort of eventual post-punk forboding. This is perfectly delivered with the grumbling early New Order/ Joy Division basslines of Alright and Homeschool, showing that these Californians are more than au-fait with the majesty of Manchester (UK) miserable-isms.