My path crossed that of Scottish trio Fuck-Off Machete only a few months ago: we found ourselves in some stinking basement venue or other, sweat cascading down dimly lit brick-red walls, beers warming in front-row hands held in statuesque formation. One party - this one - stood facing the other tear through the opposite wall with a set of fairly blistering, bombastic and brooding rock and roll. The unexpected element in their savagely potent brew was almighty pop hooks; that, and front screamer Natasha Noramly's way with a flesh-revealing dress.
All thoughts of sweat-glazed lady bits removed from one's memory, we can all move on, hand in clammy hand, to this: 'If Gold Was Silver and Silver Was Gold' is the group's first release for the predominantly electro' label Highpoint Lowlife. Why risk a decent reputation based on a niche of expertise with a guitar-strangling rock band? Well, if the title track arrived on my desk, I'd have no hesitations in asking its architects to sign on the line: between-chorus wanderings finally merge in an almighty racket, former Ganger member Noramly roaring in a way unheard since (fellow Scots) Macrocosmica's Cerwyss O'Hare's eruptions. It's all rock, a wayward roll or two and comes with a lingering pop aftertaste: like Franz et al if they'd ever employed a chaos-bringing chanteuse up front.
When she's not stripping her own throat hoarse, Noramly whispers the very bittersweetest of nothings - when she slides her poison tongue about your ear with "remember how good we used to fuck?" on b-side 'Copper And Lead Fight', one might have to order a fresh, cool beer or suffer the embarrassment of checking out for an early bath. The trio's demonstrating of deft pop sensibilities, retained from the their recommended live shows, runs throughout these three tracks of otherwise acerbic angst-rock. Without it, Fuck-Off Machete would be as appealing a prospect as being butchered by just that; with compositional intelligence on their side, and the sexiness necessary to tempt indie lurkers out from bedroom to show, the Scots could become a real buzz band of the forthcoming wintry months.
I, certainly, will be keeping various digits crossed for another convergence of paths.
6Mike Diver's Score