I freely admit that I’ve never been one for country-tinged slow rock lullabies and unfortunately the first half of As It Is When It Was is mostly that.
True to side-one of Brotherhood, AIIWIW is all-guitar; initially building on verses of gently-strummed melodies on both acoustic and bass, bridged with flurries of waspish distortion. The song’s second coda however – heralded by a flare of feedback – is a terrific descent into chugging indie-thrash; a wall of fuzz, bass and percussion that nearly loses shape but just manages to hang on.
The double-tracked vocal harmonies (a featured technique across much of Brotherhood) in the closing the streets are so empty at this time of night verse are very effective, as is Bernard’s little croon right at the end; much better than the crooning earlier in the song which is saved from dirge only by his emphatic, firm-jawed and snarling whatever you think of me / you listen hard / I will make you see (…woo!) lines.
An OK track, with some highlights, but overall As It Is When It Was is easy to pass over.
Available on: Brotherhood