Sonically careening between brutal peaks of intensity and quiet moments like the beginning of a storm, Decortica's third album "11811" is an engrossing affair from start to finish.
Recorded and produced by long-time collaborator David Holmes (Jakob, Kerretta, An Emerald City), "11811" continues Decortica's journey into the depths of angular alternative rock, while exploring elements of prog, hard
rock and alternative-metal.
While more abstract in theme than its predecessors "A New Aesthetic" (2008) and "Love Hotel" (2011), "11811" continues to honour the driving and torrential sound that Decortica have created as their own sonic signature.
Musically, the direction Decortica took for "11811" was one where they could distil the dynamics of the band's repertoire into a heavy, dissonant yet harmonic and beautiful work. From the frantic power of first single "Helix," to the eerily cacophonous "Reservoir," to the mechanical anthemic pulse of the title track "11811" where Mathew Bosher's vocals pour out "And I want you to know, all you thin men, it begins with me / And now your magnificent city is all mine," "11811" is never lacking in mystique and force.
"Lyrically, the songs are bound by a thematic framework of code, patterns and design as means of expression," says Bosher. "This was in response to abstract visual art and makes reference to sci-fi films." The lyrical theme is accompanied by dense riff-driven rock instrumentation, and we find a multi-layered album that surprises at every turn.
"11811" was recorded over a concentrated three-week period for which producer David Holmes returned to New Zealand from London. It was an ambitious task for the band and Holmes, and different to their previous project which was recorded in short, intermittent busts over a few months.
After a short stint at York Street Studios tracking drums with engineer Hayden Taylor, Holmes and Bosher retired to a makeshift countryside studio in Coatsville, North-West of Auckland. The isolation of the farmland served as a solitary escape for lyric and melody writing (Bosher kept with his usual style of finalising lyrics after arriving at the studio). The recording space was functional; the linoleum floor live room crammed with guitar amps stacked up against office desks with piles of paper records from a defunct business; the vocal booth in the corner made out of perilously positioned baffles. Despite the unusually short deadline, the pace of work agreed with the band thanks to the fluid relationship they have with Holmes. "11811" was completed and marked a step forward musically for the band.
Decortica arose as a musical project in 2005 created by Mathew Bosher and his brother, former drummer Daniel Bosher. Inspired by riff-orientated rock and angular lyrical concepts, the Auckland based band arrived properly in 2008 with the release of their debut album "A New Aesthetic." With good video play for the singles "Peace May Come," "Macchina" and "Featherlight," the band began to carve their own niche under the banner of alternative rock and following the release of their sophomore effort, they were regarded as one of New Zealand's best kept secrets in the underground rock scene.
The second album "Love Hotel" was originally released online in 2010. A concept album with a narrative set in the urban Japan nightlife, it centred around short-stay fantasy rooms that cater to guests' sexual predilections and serve as havens from the pressure and ennui of modern life. Bosher had developed the concept as he was interested in the anonymity of hotel life - love hotels being something of an institution in Japan. The album featured the singles "Monster in a Pretty Dress," "Eros," and "Shinkansen."
By the time "Love Hotel" needed to be toured, Daniel Bosher had moved camp and was replaced by Tory 'Jester' Staples. Following New Zealand and Australia shows, Bosher's fascination with Japan also led the band to successfully tour there in 2011; a well received seven-date stint that was the thematic homecoming of the "Love Hotel" record.
In 2011 EMI Music New Zealand signed Decortica and re-packaged "Love Hotel." It was the band's first release with a major label and in preparation for the release of "11811," 2012 saw further personnel changes with new bassist Brendon Kahi joining Decortica to realise live what Bosher and Staples had created in the recording of the band's third album.
Reminiscent of Deftones and early Soundgarden, Decortica have translated their recorded work to a live show renowned for a heaviness and intensity that has garnered the band fans throughout New Zealand, Australia and Japan. Continuing to create a unique and uncompromising strain of alternative rock music, "11811" is further proof that Decortica is one of the country's true sonic forces.
Mathew Bosher (guitar, vocals)
Tory 'Jester' Staples (drums)
Brendon Kahi (bass)
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