Music News

Nine Black Alps

Just because poet Sylvia Plath committed suicide and was portrayed by pop-star spouse Gywneth Paltrow in a Hollywood biopic doesn't mean she's especially rock-and-roll. Nevertheless, the four Mancunians at the heart of Nine Black Alps, who are opening for Social Distortion and the Supersuckers, lifted their band's name from a Plath line -- and if their collective sound isn't exactly an aural reproduction of The Bell Jar, it's at least more varied than the work of standard-issue post-punk acts. Everything Is, released by Interscope, begins with "Get Your Guns," a propulsive blast of power pop that's driven by roiling riffs and the melodic wailing of Sam Forrest -- and subsequent numbers touch on everything from grunge ("Not Everyone") and radio-friendly alt-rock ("Headlights") to finely tuned folk balladry ("Behind Your Eyes"). The boys have their lyrical moments, too -- particularly on "Cosmopolitan," in which Forrest declares, "You spend the night/I'll take my life/We'll kill our time/We'll be dead by sunrise." On second thought, maybe Sylvia Plath was pretty rock-and-roll after all.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts