Chances are most listeners won’t hear much beauty in NAARC’s harsh industrial whirr. But I find it there all the same. I see it lurking below the abrasive churn of metallic grating guitars, caught in the ebb and flow of undulating synths, caustic and swollen. I hear it in the project’s subversive spirit, which lands somewhere between a middle finger extended at the world and “pass me a molotov.” I’ve always found a lot of allure in the ugly and discordant, and NAARC seem to fit that bill generously.
Comprised of Matt McCalvin (guitar, vocals), Ian Cone (synth, vocals, live video manipulation), and Michael Patrick Keenan Jr. (synth, vocals, drum programming), the trio of scene veterans won’t play their first show until this Monday, but not before they share their debut EP, LOAM, and their first video, which we’re excited to premiere today.
Filmed in classic noir black and white, “Camouflage Mesh” is shot from the perspective of a powerless man, perhaps a political dissenter, who is being violently interrogated and assaulted. It’s not clear what the purpose of the interrogation is, or what alleged crime has been committed, but it’s evident that the police want or need something from the accused and are willing to go to extreme lengths to get it. Lyrically, the song helps fill in some of the blanks as it tackles themes of corruption, identity, and the dangers of authoritarian rule. “For the track, we really just wanted to tell a hypothetical story from the perspective a respectable, high-ranking, government official who arrives at his office to find that his colleagues have erased his identity due to an undergoing change in the political climate,” explains Keenan Jr. “What was once a gradual process can now take place overnight and with far less credibility because of technological advancement.”
Given the increasingly totalitarian climate of fear, violence, and hatred we find ourselves living in, it’s difficult not to see “Camouflage Mesh” as a harsh critique and dire warning about the incoming administration. And in many ways, the song’s anthemic intensity feels like a call to rise up and resist. But Keenan Jr. insists neither the song or video were intended to be overtly political, although both remain so by default. “We are living in an age where government and civilian surveillance is quickly becoming commonplace,” he says. “While an anthemic song is more or less a rallying cry, this song is more of a statement of fact from some not to distant or fantastical future.”
“Camouflage Mesh” was directed by Cone, Michael Bremer, and Keenan Jr., who also edited the video and completed all the post work. Watch it above.
LOAM is available now via Bandcamp.
NAARC will celebrate the release of LOAM on Mon., Jan. 16 when they play in support of Psalm Zero at The Earl. Fellow locals Dendera Bloodbath and Ian Deaton will also perform. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Admission is $8. 21+ to enter.