The Narrow - Self Conscious (Remastered)

I'm usually skeptical of re-releases, remixes and best of compilations. It suggests the band doesn't have any new material so they're trying to milk their fans for some extra cash. But then I'm a cynical bastard, so let's move on ;-)

I'm happy so say that The Narrow had a perfectly good reason for re-releasing this, their debut album. It has become increasingly difficult for fans to get hold of Self Conscious, one of the finest debuts from a South African band in years. So in fine style The Narrow not only re-released the album, but remastered all the tracks as well. The disc also contains two new tracks in Running Man and Dark Waters and music videos of The Banded and Push Up The Level. My only complaint is that these two aren't nearly as good as some of the better tracks on the album. I imagine Running Man sounds much better live while Dark Waters is just too trippy.

The Narrow kicks off the album in brutal fashion with a short track simply called Intro. This could easily be the rock anthem of the year, if it wasn't so short. As Tony from zazone remarks, there's a full track waiting to get out here. Promised World continues the assault, ripping through hit singles The Banded and Push Up The Level before slowing down with Notes On Breathing. Scream is another personal favorite, and aptly named. Let's face it, heavier is just better. Hanu remains one of the best vocalists in SA rock and the rest of the band (Emile and Sid on guitars, Jow on bass and Lars on drums) are by no means an afterthought. Everything about The Narrow is solid and professional. No wonder they remain one the hottest bands in the country.

So, should you go out and buy this CD if you already own Self Conscious? Probably not, although there are enough extras for serious fans. However, if you've been living in a cave for the last couple of years and don't own Self Conscious yet, what the hell are you still waiting for?