Album: New Issue – Diminished & Transmitting

New Issue (the artist formerly known as Hungry Cloud Darkening) is back with a new name and a new album. Diminished and Transmitting is available now from Butte, Montana-based label Anything Bagel. The album is proof that you don’t need to be loud and bombastic to make a big sonic impact. Subtlety and great songwriting with interesting arrangements can go a long way in moving the listener.

Diminished and Transmitting begins with the sustained vibrato-heavy organ chord of “Cue” that is shortly joined by a dark, rich punctuating guitar strum, bass note, and light as a feather vocals. Across the album the band trades off on lead vocal duties, which creates a nice patchwork of different stylings and timbres that keep the listener interested and engaged.

“New Solution” is a song of differing sirens. The ambulance-like guitar riff mesmerizes while the siren-like singing (think Homer’s Odyssey) leads us crashing into bass chords and woozy guitar solos that leaves the sensation of floating…in water, in air, in space, in nowhere. The album’s third track “Pause” sees us greeted by a different lead vocalist that waxes little fortune cookie-like nuggets of wisdom over an acoustic guitar dirge. This brief track is followed by a third switch in vocals on “Curb Again” which sounds like an indie rock Art Garfunkel in the best way possible.

The album has an excellent mixture of sounds while maintaining a nice mesmerizing laid back indie pop feel throughout. From straightforward indie songs like “Ginger” to heavier fare like “Vision Limited” to angular start/stop arrangements like “Itchy Void” and a healthy helping of ethereal contemplative drones paired with complex guitar chording, the album has a little of everything. This is on full display in “I Broke A Lamp” whose pulsating and droning keys provide a sonic sidewalk for the bass to skillfully hop and bop along. Use of piano and keys add great textures and flavors to this collection of sounds. The album is spacious, effectively dissonant at times and dark, like a forest with lots of greenery and flowers and deeper darker things living hidden in its branches and undergrowth.

New Issue’s Diminished and Transmitting is available now from Anything Bagel on cassette, vinyl, and digitally.

Written by John Brouk