Harbour / Facel Vega - Split [12 inch] (Cover Artwork)

Harbour / Facel Vega

Harbour / Facel Vega: Split [12 inch]Split [12 inch] (2009)
State Run

Reviewer Rating: 4.5

Contributed by: tristris
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Harbour and Facel Vega are easily South Wales' best-kept secrets; sporadic touring and a limited number of releases has kept both bands reserved for a privileged local few. This split solidifies both bands' positions as heavyweights in the underground UK punk scene. Harbour play a particularly ab.

Harbour and Facel Vega are easily South Wales' best-kept secrets; sporadic touring and a limited number of releases has kept both bands reserved for a privileged local few. This split solidifies both bands' positions as heavyweights in the underground UK punk scene.

Harbour play a particularly abrasive form of melodic hardcore: There's definite Dan Yemin worship going on, underpinned by Leatherface-esque, jangly lead guitar lines. Lyrically, the band spits out venomous attacks on the nature of conformity ("The Clock": "self appointed on an imperious podium...the ordained leader of men" controls "vast armies, condemned to posterity"), advertising ("Blank Billboards"'s chilling intoning of "feed us shit under that old idiom...you are what you eat") and religion ("Ahasverus" brilliantly and concisely sums up the paradox of faith: "We build and build and build in hope that soon we will asphyxiate our fear, throttle our fright and wring our own necks...belief becomes want, for want of belief"). Harbour frequently stray from the hardcore blueprint, as the cleanly picked chords of "Hearing Loss" bear obvious parallels to Moss Icon and One Last Wish and the lush, ringing notes provide a welcome contrast to the relentless rage of tracks like "To Each His Own." The latter track evokes the intelligence and fury of classic Kill Your Idols, leading up to a sick breakdown where Ceri screams to "set up, burn down, a whole race of straw men, silenced and victimised."

Facel Vega (named after the car in which Albert Camus was killed in!) deal in noisy, discordant emo not unlike that of Rites of Spring and Embrace, with Sonic Youth-esque noise rock elements thrown in for good measure. The lyrics read like sprawling, stream-of-consciousness stories rather than conventional songs; cherry-picking the "best" lyrics is a challenge due to the context in which the songs work in. "Time as White Sound" tells of boys "fill[ing] tennis balls with matchstick heads...an explosion for these alone ears" before telling of innocence lost through age, of "cracks becom[ing] islands" and "absurd logic in the face of loss...building lives around time bombs." "Long Way Down" speaks of frustration, of the speaker "see[ing] a hole in everything complete" and needing to feel "the strength to feel assured in everything [he] know[s]." The adolescent confusion is palpable and will strike a chord with anyone who has felt the bottom fall out from underneath them.

This is exciting, boundary-pushing music that doesn't deserve to be heard by only a select few. Both bands have tracks up on their respective MySpace pages and this record (a one-time pressing) is still available through State Run Records.

Harbour's MySpace page
Facel Vega's MySpace page


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
pugs (April 14, 2010)

i thought every one in south wales wished they were me!

MonkDave (April 14, 2010)

Fair enough, re: all your comments; too much spare time on my hands is not good, hence I like to keep busy. I'm not from Newport though, and don't know what the "Newport old guard" is - Tom Fowler? He was there. Justifying why you were not there though proves my point, re: comments like "I haven't seen you at any gigs" - you, and I, do not need to explain shit. I go to gigs I want to go to. I'm seriously bored of almost all bands - it probably comes with age - well, I'm sure it does. I sometimes work 60 hours a week, go to the gym, limited funds with high rent and bills... have other things going on... I burned out on most gigs a long time ago, and even when I do go - except for the odd amazing band like The Bomb - I am bored shitless and wished I was at home. The Lawrence Arms gig was a prime example of that. My comments were definitely unacceptable though, and I have no problem admitting that. I shall leave your reviews alone from now on - unless they're way off base of course.

tris (April 12, 2010)

lol @ "insane stalker hatred" - that's why you've been commenting without fail on everything I've posted on punknews so far?

the reason I didn't go to the bomb last night was:
a) most of my friends were watching failures union, a band I can't get into
b) the gig looked to be packed with people like yourself, the newport 'old guard'. ever stop to consider that your childish bullying puts people off going to shows and getting into punk? I've had nothing but good relations with terry, so you'll forgive me if I call bullshit on that one.

the label stuff was flamebait - I don't expect you to remember, but I bought 'follow as the crow flies' as well as the bedford falls split from you last year...I won't be making that mistake again, you put out good music but I don't want any more of my money lining your pockets.

I've been into punk and going to shows for the last decade. I don't drink, am fairly introverted and skinny - so much for the pugs comparison! and propagandhi aren't even my favourite band, let alone the band I "live my life by". I think all this shows is you know jack shit about me, but wanted to start a spat as you're too cowardly to pick on someone who'd attack you back. pathetic. congratulations.

MonkDave (April 11, 2010)

Good to see you at The Bomb last night, mate. I was thinking about giving you the benefit of the doubt as I know you're a young insecure kid, just got into music and thinks he's king shit, and in reality we should be on the same page, but Terry was right - you're just a creepy fucking sad little weirdo that thinks his life is a list of Propagandhi lyrics and wishes he was Pugs. Commenting on my job you have zero knowledge about and attempting to somehow criticize my label because you're throwing all your toys out of the basket is really quite desperate. You can love or hate the records I've put out, I really don't care. I spent over 10 years reviewing records, spent thousands of pounds trying to help bands through my label and have been to 3 gigs in the last week. I'm pretty content with what I've done in the past, and the efforts I put in. What does "relevancy among the punks" even mean? I'm doing the same thing I've always done, albeit at a slower pace due to the general changing tide. Anyway, new record coming soon that, if you didn't harbour this almost insane stalker / hatred of me, would probably be right up your street. But you'll no doubt hate it - and that's fine with me.

inagreendase (April 10, 2010)

That would actually be a child rape joke, not porn.

tris (April 10, 2010)

I know you need to maintain some sense of relevancy amongst the punx but I don't think child porn jokes are going to do it. sorry. have you thought about putting out an interesting record?

MonkDave (April 10, 2010)

Don't you have a six year old boy tied up in the basement that needs fucking?

tris (April 10, 2010)


don't you have some porn that needs to be edited?

MonkDave (April 9, 2010)

Wow, bitter much? I know you need to maintain an "air of cool" in front of your new PunkNews pals, but saying stuff like "when am I going to ever see you at a show?" is utterly pathetic. Well done.

tris (April 9, 2010)

what's wrong with that? I gave my three favourite south wales bands (solutions, facel vega and harbour) the scores I thought they deserved. I'm sure you'd throw impartiality out the window and dish out a similar score to no choice...if you could actually be bothered to write reviews instead of heaping criticism on mine. this release, to me, is a 9, just as I'm sure 'dry river fishing' is to you.

when am I ever going to see you at a show, dave? I'm not even sure you exist outside of the internet.

MonkDave (April 9, 2010)

Four and a half stars again? Come on Tris, if you're going to be a reviewer, do it properly. You're like a walking South Wales propaganda machine.

inagreendase (April 8, 2010)

This Harbour band sounds like Yeems fronting Dag Nasty. I'm into it.

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