Great Falls Tread The Line Between Catchy Rock And Outright Chaos On ‘A Sense Of Rest’

The Pacific Northwest’s Great Falls play a sharpened noise rock blend on their newest LP A Sense Of Rest that’s out now via Corpse Flower Records in the U.S. Their music stumbles onto the scene like a deformed monster you’d tried to put down but is now back, angry, and armed with a knife. The tunes cut the line between driving melody and intensely discomforting noise, delivering a dose of energy that will both drive you emotionally and leave your senses hanging and struggling for air.

These feelings reflect where the band members were at while composing their latest pieces. Like the best noise rock and otherwise boundary-pushing music, the songs on A Sense Of Rest capture a mood and aim it at the listener portraying — even if just for a moment — what it was like to be alive during the writing process.

Bassist Shane Mehling explains: “Like any band, we’re in such a bubble with our own music that it’s hard to listen to any of our songs and hear dissonance or experimentation because we spend so much time refining everything. We sit with parts for a long time and are always fixing them to be catchier. But with this kind of music, ‘catchy’ is a very subjective term. That’s how we end up thinking we’re writing big rock hooks while some people who listen think we’re writing abstract noise.”

As you might expect though, writing big rock hooks represents only a component of the band’s ambition, the full scope of which proves essentially tangible on their latest release. At times, you can really feel this music rattling through your system.

“We aim for every song to end with a feeling of finality and it’s hard to get there without trying to elicit some sort of emotion,” Mehling explains. “So it’s either songs collapsing from blind rage or giving up in despair.”

That tension coursing through A Sense of Rest‘s veins even bursts out via the arrangement of the songs on the record.

The common sense move is to get in all your standards and then finish with the epic; but we thought placing a 14-minute song as the fourth track would make the record more daunting,” Mehling explains. Their song “We Speak In Lowercase” sprawls out in the middle of the record with a jagged bed of somewhat minimalist and definitely especially expansive noise rock spikes. It’s like a nightmare you can’t get away from — which isn’t that far away from reality, when you think about it. The band continuously toes that line.

“We didn’t want people to be able to cruise through it,” Mehling explains of their work with “We Speak In Lowercase.” “That was the same motivation behind the following song opening with a full minute of just feedback.”

Their ambition to the ends Mehling’s described sits in an of course broader picture of artists who have taken on the task of delivering quite a bit more than the average with their music. The bassist quips that they “try and steal equally from The Jesus Lizard, Deathspell Omega, and Neurosis.” That interaction of unforgettable swaggering melodic concepts and caustic noise comes to define the band’s music. Mehling performs in Great Falls with vocalist and guitarist Demian Johnson, who’s been in bands like Undertow, and drummer Phil Petrocelli, who’s played with outfits including Jesu and Jarboe.

“All we want is for this record to be healthy,” Mehling quips, comparing their writing process to the presentation of a baby. Ultimately, they’ve truly brought a new life to the world, presenting perhaps familiar concepts in truly unfamiliar and new packages.

Photo via Scott Evans

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