Glasgow’s Lady Neptune follows her New Gorbals Gabber cassette E.P. with her debut vinyl release NOZ. Over the course of 23 bloody fisted minutes, Lady Neptune’s – aka Moema Meade - hyper destructed take on Gabber and Happy Hardcore breaks down the genre tropes before rebuilding them as a new pop music. If 2020’s New Gorbals Gabber showed an artist building their own language from fragments of different genres, 2022’s NOZ goes harder into the cyberpunk-ass future and takes no prisoners.
Recorded and mixed at Glasgow’s legendary Green Door Studios and mastered by Rashad Becker, here Lady Neptune evolves into a monster. With the classic weapons of Dutch Gabber – distorted 909 kick drums, bursts of noise and world-eating Rave-O Matic hoovering synth riffs, Lady Neptune’s 6 tracks constantly threaten to careen off the speaker into the sweatiest, most gibbering, messy corners of the club. The two years since her debut has seen Meade destroying festival dancefloors, training for the full assault that is NOZ. Live performances have seen foam guns, tequila pistols, neon stage dancers and a full, maxed-out orgy of fast-as-hell BPM, rave music burning up the cones. The experience reaps rewards from the outset on recorded form here.
APOCOLYPS begins with monstrous vocals and the all-consuming kick, pulled back and taut for launch. The arsenal builds; warbling synths and high-pitched synth-strings before dropping into Bald Terror-sized hoovers and stuttering 4/4s. It quickly bleeds into MASTERER, with a looped, pitched up vocal intersecting with the synth riff. The aesthetics might be Happy Hardcore but the dynamic feels like a synthetic, evil Nu Metal-influenced Industrial music. Constantly evolving and twisting with its own natural drama, the drop at 2:15 is pure ecstatic release. fusing Meade’s inclination for pop hooks with the first out-and-out 180BPM (ish, who’s counting?) anthemic melter of the E.P., TELL ME has THE big catchy chorus, used sparingly and sung by Meade with angelic devilishness, coming at you in waves of XTC. It’s a repeater.
It’s then massive fists in the air for the ruthless Side B opener WIT. In the Welsh-Brazilian artist’s adopted home of Glasgow it translates directly as WHAT!? Itt makes sense. g. Sharp, weaponised, rhythmic punishment abounds before OH responds. Pitched up vocals and another mid-frequency synth hook wipes the slate clean. Like the best Gabber, the tension and release dynamic is used to full effect by Meade, with the thunderous low end kick - expertly tweaked in the mastering by Rashad Becker – slipping into the ghostly cavern. Industrialized 4/4 and noise-snares propel onwards to be utterly squashed by that bloody synth, stinging and horribly brilliant. Proving her genius for a ridiculous A-N-T-H-E-M, TIME 2 MAKE U FEEL GOOD closes the 23 minutes of ragged, drugged glory with a festival-slamming chorus built from the wreckage. It’s a song that does that thing we all know and love but can’t put our finger on. Sad, happy, tragedy, ecstasy, joy, horror...There’s big, minor chord changes (yes there’s some CHORDS on this slammer), the kick is submerged in layers of pads and Meade’s actual secret weapon: her vocal and knack for writing a chorus line. In the listener’s mind it’s over before it’s begun, a track destined for the big rewind.
Released on the weekend Lady Neptune debuts at legendary Bang Face festival, NOZ is a breathless, E-number riddled eternal ecstasy.
3. Time 2 Make U Feel Good
6. Tell Me