December 2015 Singles & EP reviewsPosted by vibrations on 21-12-15
Big Love – Demo (Self release)
This demo has been around a while but it would be a shame if it disappeared without somebody somewhere giving it a shout out. This Bradford based quartet are apparently made up of ex members of the likes of This Et Al, Dolphins, Laboratory Noise and Minus Jack, and while some of these may illicit a ‘Oh!’ while others a mere ‘Uh?’, the pedigree suggests that while the individual members may have been round the block a few times, they know their way around a good song. And so it proves. Although what we get is not massively original (nagging Queens of the Stone Age style grooves married to a Bangles-ish sense of Pop) it’s all very intelligently put together and executed with a fine sense of understated style. Opener ‘Moggies’ has a staccato Singer Kerry Ramsey doesn’t have a particularly strong voice but this is more than made up for in the highly sophisticated vocal arrangements and melodies. Proper intelligent grown up rock music.
More info at https://biglovers.bandcamp.com/releases
Clenstch – Pebbles and Infinity (British Wildlife Records/Voice of Chunk)
The latest in a seemingly endless series of bands that feature ace bass and drums combo Tom Goodall and Steve Myles, this time with the addition of guitarist Alex Mcdowell, Clenstch seems to be mainly a vehicle to explore the unlikely possibilities of a hardcore/prog rock hybrid that sane men ordinarily wouldn’t let out of the lab. Fortunately Clenstch are not sane men. Crunching overdriven riffs compete with pointlessly complex arrangements and strangulated vocals that end up sounding like Gentle Giant, King Crimson, Bad Brains and Mastodon fighting it out in a sack. The down side (unless the bag fight scenario was actually your idea of a downside already) is that these recordings were made 18 months ago, officially released 6 months ago, and don’t bear much relation to the eviscerating savagery with which the trio play these songs live today. The upside (are you keeping up at the back?) from all this is that you need to go see this band play live.
What is a ‘clenstch’ anyway? Answers on a postcard…..
Wharf Street Galaxy Band - Wharf Street Galaxy Band (Self release)
Ever wonder what dedicated noiseniks, improvisers and musical square pegs would sound like if they ever decided to try something a bit more conventional? One option is Wharf Street Galaxy Band, who are effectively a collaboration between Legion of Swine and Orlando Ferguson plus drummer, alternating between Fall-ish Krautrock riff outs and more considered ambient sketches. Given the political stance of Dave Proctor’s Legion of Swine, it’s hardly surprising that much of the lyrical content is a scathing attack on the debased state of the state and politics under the hated Tories. But despair not, along with the sloganeering (‘Organised Freedom is Compulsory’) there are healthy doses of playfulness and humour that make the entire enterprise thoroughly, er, entertaining. Best of the lot is opener ‘No Puffins for YOU Lad’, which straps an Orwellian parable on burgeoning political awareness to a rollicking space rock riff, and the dreamy, surreal ambient workouts ‘Sergio Leone Comes to Keighley’ (“As you stepped down from the iron horse/Into a spaghetti Western Yorkshire/Sergio’s in Keighley….”) and ‘Shoreditch (Everyday)’ (“We’re trapped on an island/Where the idiot is King…”) tying for second place. It’s not without its drawbacks though – this expanded six track, thirty minute rerelease of a much more compact original three tracker doesn’t gain much from the extra material (if there’s one thing more annoying than people using selfie sticks, its people writing songs complaining about people using selfie sticks – ‘Selfie Stick/Selfish Prick’), and the lazy sub-Fall retread of rehearsal recording ‘Five Blokes’ would have been better kept locked away. Anyway, Merzbow doing disco, anyone?