This could have been an anthemic record. The guitars and voice are joyous. They ascend through simple arrangements of major chords – idealistic, emotionally fulfilled, deeply in love – projecting a pop music that celebrates life at its most rich and viscerally simplistic. The shoegaze fuzz hits my face like bubble bath foam. The voice surfs upon the power chords, tilting playfully between vowels, repeating the same lullaby phrases over and over again, trying to freeze a beautiful moment in time by looping the same melody back in on itself.
Yet these two instruments are stranded in rooms of decay and disrepair. Instead of using drums to rocket the romantic sentiment into the sky, the album’s rhythmic propulsion comes from spluttering, stuttering gushes of white noise. They choke and cough to my left and my right, vaguely adherent to a certain tempo but forever crumbling out of the lines. The effect is devastating. The album has no forward drive. Instead the tracks quake where they stand, wrenched back and forth by the noise, fracturing under the lurches of the ground beneath. This noise blows holes through the walls. It cracks the floor open. It sends rubble raining down from above.
All the while, Nac/Hut Report are sat in the middle with a microphone, guitar and amplifier. They no longer sound celebrative. Instead, their joyous delivery feels odd and misguided, cradling a dimming glimmer of optimism as the world comes crashing down, fixating upon a rose-tinted memory to evade the heartbreak of confronting the present tense. Now doesn’t that sound familiar? It’s like switching on my radio in the morning, and deciding on whether I want to tune into to a news bulletin that maps out the wretched state of the world, or whether I should escape into a station that pumps out wistful, love-obsessed pop. Grey Zone Collapse Nostalgia is the sound of stranding the radio dial in between these two stations, allowing both dismal reality and utopian daydream to dribble in from the edges, barely audible through the dead air of anxious, ignorant stasis.