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- Daughters! »
‘Long-awaited’ is perhaps a slightly understated description of this recent jaunt from Canada’s psycho-metal maestros Daughters!, having missed their first trip here and been taunted ever more so each time the scrabbling lunacy of their debut makes a return to my stereo. For me, Canada Songs not only redefined extraordinarily dissonant clatters and screeches into cohesive, technically-challenging virtuosity, but their latest platter Hell Songs seems to have taken their mutant musicality to even further realms, creating an esoteric language that is definitely their own.
Tonight I was to catch a glimpse of the minds that spawned such innovation. And it’s not a pretty sight. Buzzsaw guitars shoot around the room, howling at a fearsomely bloodthirsty pitch; bass notes scrummage underneath, chasing their tails to wildly erratic rhythms; short, punctuating screams bounce off the ceiling while psychotic drum patterns splash out in all directions at once whilst pulling everyone along with it. A calamitous din to the bemused barman, no doubt, but to trained ears (or ears trained, ostensibly, by genius monkeys in Don Cabellero's private tech-noise lab), this is art at its most extreme; music that not only thinks outside the box but is roughly two or three light-years away from it.
Before them, however, is a welcome surprise set from Nottingham noiseniks Army Of Flying Robots. It’s the first time I’ve caught them with their new bassist Craig but they’re every bit as coarse and rabid as they’ve always been, tearing the ears off the uni freshers before anyone else gets a chance.
Those with ears still vaguely intact march bravely to the front for Trencher, who race through their usual thrashy wares with a precision few can argue with.
Soon after, Daughters! take over and as various members quickly begin setting up their equipment a solitary figure staggers around the stage, seemingly without purpose. With long dark hair and sporting a white V-neck mental patient shirt he looks like a cross between Charles Bronson and Jack Nicholson in The Shining. With a camp turn of his wrist he picks up the mic, stares vacantly into the crowd and waits patiently for the first few shards of disfigured metallic riffage to shoot from behind. When it does he exhales a wretched cry, loaded more with anguished pain than hostile screams. This man clearly has issues.
Dodging the freak syncopations, he visually stabs the audience with his fingers, throwing the mic lead around the overhead beam as sprawling yelps crawl out of his lungs and drip off the microphone. Dangling precariously he circles it, eyes focused, before settling underneath, the lead falling slowly into his mouth.
It’s a chilling performance, yet the clarity of their sonic attack is sadly lost in the chaos. While the music darts, shoots and flies about the room like an explosion in a fireworks factory, its proponents remain largely motionless throughout, one guitarist seemingly on auto-pilot for much of their set. Trying to interpret each track becomes a pained experience as each facet of their maddening psyche fights for attention.
Although one gets the impression that this was perhaps a Daughters! ‘off’ day, you still walk out of the room shaken, stirred and just a little bit dishevelled. Nobody knows it yet, but Daughters! have just soiled their musical palette.
Thankfully, we're all the better for it.