Newspaperflyhunting are a Polish rock band who combine post-rock elements with a progressive edge while filtered through the melancholic air of Brits Anathema. Iceberg Soul is their second album, and the first I’ve heard by the band.
Musically, Iceberg Soul play some really good stuff, led by an interplay between echoey guitar, grooving bass and soft piano working to create a nice atmosphere. I tend to really dislike the typical delay laden post-rock guitar sound, but the playing here is interesting and diverse enough to make up for it. With two guitarists, Newspaperflyhunting (NPFH from now on) change between softer atmospheric sections, to distorted noisy riffs, and even some more jazzy upbeat sections on The Third Sun, a track which is nearly ten minutes long, and the best one here, especially in the instrumental sections, when the musicians have a chance to really shine. With laid back grooving bass, inventive lead guitar playing, and really good transitions between ideas, and lots of time signature changes. NPFH really know how to write some really great music when it’s given the chance to breathe without the vocals, with lots of different moods created through the variation in the guitarist’s playing. Stop Flying has a really great guitar solo running through it, long and sprawling, and there’s a lot of experimentation with different post-rock styled guitar effects throughout it to keep it interesting, and the same can be said throughout the rest of the album. On Looking through the Glass there’s some really great soft piano, which when combined with the great guitar playing makes for a really complete sound, and throughout the album the band has a really strong chemistry, which helps with the ever evolving nature of their music. Lighthouse is a track which really builds up, with both guitarists on excellent form playing some really catchy riffs, it’s a really great track, with some nice, soft vocal lines in the beginning, and a good noisy riff in the middle. NPFH play some really unique music on Iceberg Soul, and the combination between the guitar influences from post-rock bands, the melancholic atmosphere of British prog rocker’s Anathema and the elegant playing of Porcupine Tree is mixed in well and combined with a good dose of their own style and creativity.
However, there’s some drawbacks to the album. The vocals are pretty mediocre, whether the male or female vocalist who’s singing. It’s not terrible, but each singer’s voice is a combination of slightly fragile and kind of nasally, and with the music being good, it ruins the atmosphere created by the great music. You can’t expect the brilliance of Lee Douglas and Vincent Cavanagh I guess, but with the Anathema influences being so pronounced the comparisons need to be drawn. it could maybe be improved with a bit of studio wizardry, because, as I said, it’s not terrible, but it does detract a little. And then there’s the lyrics, which are pretty cliché when it comes to the melancholic style they’re going for, and a bit dull, especially with the over repetition of the line “your iceberg soul, your iceberg soul” umpteen times on the final track, the aptly named Your Iceberg Soul. This really isn’t much of an issue though, it’s not awful, just a little overwrought. Another issue is that they seem to steal the main riff from Pink Floyd’s track Echoes on their track Grassmemory, it’s so close as to smack of plagiarism, and then there’s a riff at the end of Lighthouse which sounds suspiciously like one from Porcupine Tree’s Time Flies. It might be coincidence, and I hope so, because NPFH are really competent musicians and they have a really unique style, they don’t need to borrow from anyone.
If you can get past the vocals and the lyrics, then you’re in for a treat, because there’s some really nice post-rock here, and this from a guy who’s not a big post rock fan. There’s a lot of really interesting guitar playing throughout, and the performance from the band is incredibly tight throughout. The band have a lot of ideas and are always seamlessly moving from one idea into the next, and as a band they’ve got great chemistry, so it all fits together really well.
Listen to some of the tracks on Bandcamp: