Last time I went to the Hawley Arms (before it burned down… poor bar) half the clientele was rubbing their noses every two-or-three minutes in an effort to hide why they were actually there, that reason being is not the booze and also not for this review. Therefore, when The Brute Chorus' debut single ended up on my desk, released by a label run out of the ubiquitous Hawley Arms, one question comes to mind: what kind of music mirrors this place? Whatever it is, The Brute Chorus surprised, as what we have here is a sloppy mess of dirty, angular blues, in ‘Chateau’.
This is a very good song for all the wrong reasons. The chords are muddy, disjointed, utterly crass, as if this group of transplanted Londoners lack any skill whatsoever in quelling cogent chords from their instruments, but in this muddiness, this thick, bluesy dirt lay its brilliance. ‘Chateau’ is a sordid timepiece crammed with imagery, an ode to a home filled with cracks, holes and cockroaches that is called home nonetheless, as if all its insecurities reveal all the beauty hidden behind the dirt. Never is the melody quite right, the bass sounds slightly out of tune and a hint of feedback adorns the back wall of the atmosphere, but none of this truly matters, as the respect for The Brute Chorus’ chateau chimes through in each note, creating confidence amidst the chaos and leaving in its path an impressive foray into dirty, downtrodden blues. Just the last fifteen seconds attest to its brilliance. Everything goes fucking insane, as the guitar erupts into simple noise, the vocals distort into nonsense and the drums revert to inane cymbals backlash. Whatever structure existed is torn down and exposed for what it is; and that is a complete mess.
Yet, everything changes with the b-side, ‘The Cuckoo and The Stolen Heart’. Instead of sweeping the dirt around the room, The Brute Chorus clean it up, opting for simple bluegrass above anything else; beautiful in its own way, but in its place it’s the antithesis to the single. Alone both songs are brilliant. Beside each other they clash. Regardless, The Brute Chorus is worth sniffing out.
8Shain Shapiro's Score