Narrowlands #1

If you linked in to this blog to find information about the loud band from Sydney called Narrow Lands – “gentle people who like violent music” – I am sorry, but there’s a chance you might be disappointed. This blog is about the importance and ethereal quality of interdisciplinary research. That you landed here is a weakness in the google algorithm. But stay! I am always keen to expand my dwindling fan base, so if you really are simultaneously as gentle and violent as you say you are, keep reading… maybe we can make interesting music together.


Keep reading, because those who have been here before know that my go-to rhetorical device is to set up a straw man juxtaposition, then tear it down and preach peace and love to all. You, Narrow Landers, are not my straw men and women. If my eyebrow muscles appear to twitch that’s merely the close proximity of the words “gentle” and “violent” in a sentence; it’s the pedant in me and that pedant is in permanent combat with a curious soul who wants to understand and experience new things… It’s ying and yang, chalk and cheese, Mary Berry and Gordon Ramsey.

Hang around, though, because wouldn’t a Mary Berry-Gordon Ramsey mash up be a thing of potential beauty? For me it might pack more surprises and more of a punch than a mundane pairing of similar phenotypes: Robson and Jerome didn’t surprise us and they may have sold records but I’d argue they created anything novel (they literally only did covers); they are not Serge Gainsborough and Jane Burkin. Admittedly Bing Crosby and David Bowie’s Little Drummer Boy was an off-the-wall matching and not an unqualified success. That’s the thing with interdiscpilinarity: it’s rather hit or miss. But when it hits, it hits far harder than any safer, run-of-the-mill, predictable offering.


And so back to the real Narrow Lands, the gentle but loud band from Sydney whose eclectic discography includes numbers like Whores Rule, Gifted Children and December Clone. The album was recorded “over one weekend in a shed, on a farm near Barry [the town], NSW”. Some reviews, (which would make the promotions paperwork I’ve been reading recently much more interesting if the assessors adopted the same approach): “Brutal octavers”; “An album with a lot of layers to explore. Currently hogging my turntable”; “as brutal and catchy as your favourite wart!”; and, “Sludge… so much sludge”. You can judge for yourself if you click on the album cover above (this one, I promise, doesn’t lead to an advert for a pregnancy test!) And you too may discover that, although you are a gentle person, you too like violent music… Sadly, I didn’t!


Patrick Leman is returning to earth next week… and may even be writing “Narrowlands #2″… which will be a much more acerbic, but much less obscure, look at the state of modern research in psychology and a call for interdsciplinarity. This was just the whimsical warm up!