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Walker

Nope are a West Yorkshire supergroup of sorts. Comprised of members from That Fucking Tank, Hookworms, Cowtown and Mucky Sailor, their first album Revision was an impressive headlong plummet into the psychedelic side of alternative rock, melded with shoegaze-drizzled krautrock. Two years later, they return with their follow-up, Walker. As with their debut, Nope focus on Russell Hoban’s sci-fi novel Riddley Walker as their starting point, taking the “desolate, oppressive feel but with an underlying uplifting, optimistic vibe” and translating it into their music.

But Walker is a considerably more complex and thoughtful creature, the youthful exuberance and abandon of their debut giving way to a more dense, structured and experimental sound. Walker still has those soaring highs but here they are less prominent. The record feels more introspective and considered. Guitars replace drums as the driving force, and whilst the upbeat psych-rock edges remain, they are far less prevalent than on the previous release.

The titular track was conceived in collaboration with filmmaker Eoin Shea for last year’s Recon Festival. This partnership gave them licence to play with their sound, resulting in a multi-layered exploration which delves into the very essence of their music. Clocking in at 30 minutes and divided into two parts, it heralds a tonal progression which is indicative of how they have grown individually as musicians and together as a band.

With Walker, Nope move away from being a band who take their influences from others and towards a group of musicians who have the self-confidence and belief in their abilities to strike out along their own path.

Rob Aldam

by Now Then Sheffield