Given the current resurgence in so-called “punk”, you’d be surprised to hear that some of the most aggressive and uncompromising music made this year comes from 5 blokes who you could probably mistake for your local bank manager and wouldn’t glance at a second time in the street. But when the musical pedigree includes bands such as Killing Joke, Ministry, Revolting Cocks, Pigface, Nine Inch Nails, Sheep on drugs and PiL, I guess airplay isn’t really an option. This lot create a huge wall of noise like you wouldn’t believe, a barrage of sound, and they’ve put together an unholy noisefest that is as challenging as it is uncompromising. If that is your aim, then it doesn’t disappoint.
For 68 minutes, its like being bashed over the head with a fucking large hammer , and being forced to open your eyes and think, hang on, what have this lot got to be angry about? Well, for a start, when pop bands like Blink 182 (who may as well be fucking Bon fucking Jovi for all their punk credence) are deemed punk, this lot seem to have no chance. What they do have is musical credibility by the shedload and talent, neither of which the puerile Blink 182 have in abundance. Blink 182 have good looks and boyband appeal did I say Bon Jovi with guitars? Sorry I meant Westlife. Damage manual says fuck that, lets give em some fucking noise. And what a beautiful noise it is. This is more akin to the spirit of punk as it was originally, an ugly horrible noise that makes you sit up and think, what the fucks going on here?
I’ll tell you what it is. It ain’t pretty. But its perfectly valid, and it sure as fucking hell is loud; Geordie’s guitar creates a noise not unlike the end of the world, if it were interpreted by six strings and a feedback pedal on 11. Riffs appear from nowhere and swamp the sound, a wall of melodic feedback like the Mary chain or the Pixies, with all the subtlety and twice the venom. He doesn’t hate his guitar, but his guitars seems to hate us. Why would it create such perfect noise...
On the other hand, singer Chris Connelly drags his ravaged vocals across the acres of sound in the way that only he can. The voice of Revolting Cocks and (occasionally) Ministry, his caustic and uncompromising delivery contrasts with the basslines of dubmeister jah wobble, whose collaborated with Pil, the Orb, and Bill Laswell. All in all, this creates a sound unlike any other you’ve heard, with dub reggae basslines working in the space in the sound rather than clogging it up. Most bassplayers just follow the lead of the guitar, Jah Wobble doesn’t follow the lead of anything, it makes it seem like its inhabiting the same universe, just a different planet. With the snappy, open drums of Martin Atkins, this creates a wall of noise Phil Spector never dreamed of.
It might not be pretty, it might be ugly, but it sure is a magnificent behemoth of sludgy noise. Unlike Blink 182 or the current stream of punk-pop aimed at 15 year old rebellious schoolkids who hate doing homework, this is an album that rewards its listeners on a deeper level the more listens you give it. It may not be an instantly accessible album, but work on it, and it’ll make perfect sense. Well worth listening to.
8Graham Reed's Score