[sic] Magazine

The Janitors – Noisolation Sessions Vol. 2

As psychotherapy sessions go, you could certainly do a lot worse than The Janitors’ second Noisolation instalment. Like many artists, the Swedish fuzz kings had an album ready to go before the first pandemic lockdown hit, but due to the uncertain times and inability to tour it, they’re still holding it back. Using their time productively, they first recorded and released the excellent Vol. 1, a capture of the moment, but also an intimate portrait of The Janitors’ song-writing process. Stuck in an endless cycle of confinement, now comes Vol. 2. “You need to know how to howl to give yourself an escape route” the band themselves say, and scream they do – albeit largely through their instruments than via their usual monotone vocals and dour lyrics that seem to hang in suspension over the mix.

It turns out The Janitors are hard to shift from a decent groove when they burrow in deep though, which means that – sonically – the spacey Vol. 2 is resolutely in “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” territory. This translates to eight tracks that largely follow the same menacing template, only latterly spinning off into their own idiosyncrasies. The solemn “Bellwellhell” leads the charge with thudding bass and evil echoes, guitar reverb going for a psychedelic wander, the track’s slo-mo beat dropping on the desolate landscape like the first big drops of a thunderstorm, except instead of rain it’s cars and trucks that are falling all around having been picked up and thrown by a tornado. The similarly styled “Rymdamnden” latterly spirals off into a raga-drone laser jam, while the chiming “Thin Line” swings back and forth sadistically, plundering The Janitors’ fuzz vault as it goes. Troubling the harmony along the way come hand-drummed rhythms, swelling static, and searching guitar parts that range the Badlands beneath a starry sky, peace-pipes being passed around as interstellar forces square off in the distance, cymbal crashes, rattling chains and disembodied moans thinking of coalescing into something profound before fading back into cosmic radiation.

Showing again the power of restraint while still building and ratcheting up the tension, Vol. 2 only really steps on to crush and wail when the therapeutic benefits of doing so are required, and only then usually in short destructive bursts. Quicker to the point than most, “Nowhere To Come Down” does the most damage. Exploiting the skittering, stereo-panning partnership of bass and muscular drums, it gleefully throws up a grotesque, totemic slab of morose noise, gouging the frozen depths like an iceberg calving from a shelf, the kind of self-care that we can only hope is repeated time and again on that much-anticipated long-player when it eventually lands.

Best track: “Bellwellhell”

~Noisolation Sessions Vol. 2 is released January 21st 2022 via the collaborative efforts of Cardinal Fuzz and Little Cloud Records.~