Don’t know about* Trencher? Been hibernating in a hole in a Somerset field since February of five years ago? Answered negatively to both question posed? Well, acquaint yourself here. (If you have been purposefully sheltering from the rigours of the world above ground, then it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance. This internet business must seem very peculiar to a person such as yourself.)
Usually seen in sweaty pits and glimmering corporate-run venues alike, such is their cross-scene appeal – some find them physically amusing, others aurally hostile but entirely to their devilish tastes – Trencher are commonly a three-piece. For this release, though, originally recorded for John Peel’s show and broadcast in May of 2005, the trio of Milk Shit, Lock Monger and Pox team up with a gravel-toned screamer by the name of Shinburn. He may or may not be Phil from Silent Front – said rock ‘n’ roarer was spied not so long ago gatecrashing a Trencher set and damn near destroying himself as he hung from the lighting rig – but, as you may have figured, precise identities matter little to the malevolent menace that Trencher so easily conjure.
Here we’ve seven tracks, including a cover of The Murder Of Rosa Luxemburg’s ‘I Lost All My Hair In A Skiing Accident’; “I’m not sure I really like this,” summarises my girlfriend as I play this bruised slab of thick vinyl on a Sunday morning, and she raises a worthwhile point: most folk won’t take kindly to Trencher’s unashamed aggression and compositional naivety. (I only raise my girlfriend's comment as she openly admits to a fondness for Wolf Eyes, so her resistence to Trencher seems odd.) Complex melodies these songs do not have – it’s scream, keys, scream, drums, scream, bass, repeat repeat repeat. So, if you did answer “No” twice earlier, you might want to think twice before playing this in the company of your mother while she’s holding a hot drink.
*Know all about them already? The weirdest thing here is that the record plays at 33 1/3. Something about playing Trencher at the slower speed on your turntable doesn’t quite fit.
Flip the black-and-white disc over and Esquilax do things with keyboards that your mother would equally disapprove of. It’d be straight to bed with no downers if you aired their frantic (frantic? Shit, that doesn’t do this hyper-kinetic mind-fuck of electro-gabba-core and wasp-sting beats justice whatsofuckingever) sounds during a family barbeque. If Trencher are hostile, then the four men of Esquilax are their asylum-bound partners in the waging of vinyl war most vicious, each stab of underworldly instrument spilling the guts of a hundred friendly fairy tale creatures. It’s the grit and filth from the deepest recesses of the minds of Grimm and Grimm moulded into something that’s sold as music, but it’s really nothing like the music you or I know: uncompromising, focused, mad as a hatter, abso-ASBO-lutely terrifying.
Like Trencher, Esquilax aren’t fond of revealing their given names; therefore, we’re presented with a cast list that runs Vomit, Keylock, Beard and Teapot. Oooookaaaaay. Song titles (there’s a lyric sheet, not that you’ll be able to tell where the fuck you are in each song) are just as ridiculous: ‘Wiping My Ass With The Mona Lisa’, ‘Wanking With Chopsticks’ and ‘It’s Hard To Do Evil Bidding On An Empty Stomach’.
Hard to do evil bidding? Shit, trying to listen to Esquilax is as hard as balancing a boiled egg on the back of a teaspoon, be your stomach full of food, drink, drugs, whatever. It’s enough to make a man retreat into hibernation all over again; that, or to leave the twin-sided experience with the impression that Trencher have got some decent choruses...
7Mike Diver's Score