Ringo Deathstarr/Mush/Stilts @ Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Posted by vibrations on 23-11-15

Stiltsstart with a fart (no, really) and drop into full on, frenzied psyche-garage-grunge in the blink of an eye. It’s an impressive demonstration of commitment, especially when the room is virtually empty and there’s little prospect of any reciprocation. Singer Jonny Dickin has a great desperate strangulated rasp on his voice and the band jack-knife and boing around with suitable abandon. The best band to ever come out of Barnoldswick? Probably.

It’s a bit distracting trying to figure out which Fall song Mush are covering as their opener, and to compound the disorientation their second seems to be called ‘Repetition’. It wasn't a cover, of course. Which is essentially the problem with Mush. All their songs sound like another band, and even though those other bands are pretty cool (Fall, Lou Reed, Television, a touch of Beefheart lite) it’s impossible to say what Mush sound like. Essentially Mush are a band working out their influences in public instead of in the rehearsal room, and who knows, when we actually get to hear what Mush sound like, they may not be half bad.

Which makes it a bit awkward talking about Austin, Texas trio Ringo Deathstarr, because they sound almost exactly like My Bloody Valentine. The crucial redeeming feature is that they’ve realised Isn’t Anything era MBV (hazy, dreamlike boy/girl harmonies over overdriven guitar mayhem that still has a firm grip on strong melodies and rhythmic dynamism) is a much better launch pad for musical creativity than the sonic dead end of white noise and aural pain that Kevin Shields and his acolytes so determinably marched up. In addition, the band is not averse to dropping into unashamedly metal riffology, which gives the layers of feedback and effects that much more power. There’s not really much messing about with restraint, they just go for the sex of guitar noise, man.

Steve Walsh




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