The Long Haul / Kerouac - Split (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Long Haul / Kerouac

Split (2011)

Tangled Talk

This split EP between Kerouac and the Long Haul features two of the UK's more promising metallic hardcore acts. It's a handy little introduction.

The Long Haul waste no time kicking into the dark, gravelly opener "Dead Soul / Endless Drag". It's a unique thing, because while it starts off with galloping, schizophrenic drum patterns and a barking howl that could situate the band halfway between Rise and Fall and a faster Shipwreck a.d., out of nowhere comes this sassier, high-pitched singing (perhaps courtesy of guest Lizzy Maries). But it's not like a bad sing/scream thing, because whoever that is actually sounds a lot like Portugal. The Man's John Gourley. Although this is the only track the band do it, it's a weird mix of influences they somehow pull off, transitioning from intense, riffy aggression (plus a ripping solo) to dark psychedelic tinges on a dime, sometimes layering them. Epitaph-era Kurt Ballou-type licks give "Lost Harmony" some playful color, while some heavier moments and cool blips of dissonance make their final effort, "The Passing of Dreamers" a pretty sick finish.

The vocal British accent on Kerouac's aggressive, spat hardcore takes is much more audible, and it gives them a unique element apart from the Long Haul. Musically, they kinda tread similar territory, but they're doing something that's harder to pin down–more loose and almost improvised in a way. It's frenetic and a little frothy, with Botch-style angularity in the otherwise muffled guitars, but without going too overboard like so many of their American counterparts have. There's a great little pounding chaos to "Young Wounds", with a slower, more smoldering burn to split closer "Porcelain".

With the Long Haul providing a solid, creative and sometimes risky take on a sound often thought as otherwise unfuckwithable, and Kerouac doing their own more boiling, loose style of it, this makes for quite a great little starter pack for prospective fans.

The Long Haul - Dead Soul / Endless Drag
Kerouac - I Owe Some People the World, But I Owe You Shit
Kerouac - Young Wounds
Kerouac - Porcelain