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Posted: July 9th, 2004, by Chris S

I am convinced the DESIGNER BABIES are on the verge of something. I don’t mean a commercial breakthrough or anything like that. I mean they are close to arriving at a new sound. They used to take two opposing styles and spot-weld them together. The results were always interesting but the joins were always visible.

But last night I saw them play and a couple of points in the set were just above and beyond. If you’ve not heard them before the basic premise is playing heavy, disjointed rock using sounds not usually associated with that. So structurally its Fantomas – blast beats, twists and turns – but sonically it’s all over the shop. Kate employs a theramin, laptop and a turntable with pre-damaged and prepared vinyl. Mark plays a Tele tuned down to A through a bass amp and Nick could play in Napalm Death if he wanted but chances are they’d turn him down for being too damn joyous when he plays. And thats before considering Kushs vocal talents that range from wailing eastern scales to put Percy Plant to shame to ferocious growls and grunts. It’s a strange setup but somehow they are getting some wonderful pop music from it. Serious!

2 new songs in particular are just incredible, instantly memorable and amazing. One is a weird shifting single note riff built on a dancehall rhythm with tons of twists but never for the sake of it. The second takes the kind of Son House slide guitar thing that Beefheart stole for I Feel Like Ahcid and just pounds it out really ferociously while Kush makes melody of the whole thing.

Rather than mash it all together but keep the bits distinct it’s like they’ve finally found a way of being all the things they are at the same time. I can’t fucking believe it.

Chris S

Chris lives for the rock and can often be seen stumbling drunkenly on (and off) stages far and wide. Other hobbies include wearing jumpers, arsing about with Photoshop and trying to beat the world record for the number of offensive comments made in any 24 hour period. He has been married twice but his heart really belongs to his guitars. All 436 of them.


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