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Archive for April, 2005

FOLK MUSIC

Posted: April 30th, 2005, by Simon Proffitt

On Wednesday night I visited the legendary Fillmore East Muni Arts Centre in Pontypridd. It’s a nice enough place, housed in an old deconsecrated Welsh Methodist chapel, and there’s a vending machine in the foyer selling baked corn snacks for 10p a packet. I was in two minds whether to go for Tangy Toms or pickled onion Space Raiders, but the sun had been out all day and I was happy, so I had a packet of each.

I was there to see two friends of mine supporting some guy I’d never heard of. I don’t think they’d heard of him either. We didn’t really know what to expect. There was a stack of promotional postcards next to the ticket office, and they were intriguing – a moodily lit close-up of an androgynous person in tragic-cabaret style with glitter paint lazily seeping from one eye, all done in tastefully deep purples. Very camp, very classy. The reverse was similarly intriguing: ‘a techno-traditionalist’ we were told. Great! ’21st century folk music’. Awesome! ‘Radio 2 airplay’. Fantast- wait, that didn’t sound too promising! But, you know, I’ve got an open mind. And I’m a big fan of Desmond Carrington.

Halflight (the friends of mine) were on first, and they were great. They always are. But I’m not here to talk about Halflight. I’m here to talk about Jim Moray, the 21st century techno-traditionist folk musician.

Jim shuffles onstage dressed in Strokes-lite. Slim-fitting black trousers, black shirt (sleeves rolled half up), 80’s new wave red tie. The geeky offspring of Dennis Pennis and Elvis Costello. His first song is an acapella ‘folk tune’, and is probably about some Merrie Maiden or Olde England’s Forests Green or whatever. It’s nice enough, but he doesn’t have the strongest voice I’ve ever heard. It’s Tesco Value Glenn Tilbrook. Kwik Save Elvis Costello. But the brilliant thing about it is – get this – he’s got a gadget. It’s a small silver box! With a cable coming out of the back! And it makes bits of his voice repeat over and over again! So that he’s doing backing! Vocals! With! Himself! The small audience (mostly 40-somethings sitting comfortably at tressle tables) love it. Couples look excitedly at each other, and squeeze each others hands. Look, it’s that lovely young lad! The one off of Radio 2! He’s singing a nice song! And he’s got a gadget!

Jim’s band enter the stage. They’re geeky new wave lite, too. And things suddenly get very bad. Now, I appreciate folk music as much as the next man. I have two Robbie Basho albums. I think Woody Guthrie was a genius. I have an Anne Briggs CD. I’ve seen the Albion Band live. My mum knows Ashley Hutchings. I’m a big fan of the new wave of world folk sweeping across the land: Avarus, Vibracathedral Orchestra, Hala Strana, Islaja, Lau Nau, Six Organs of Admittance. Ah, you say, then it’s Jim Moray’s technology you don’t like. He’s got a sample-and-hold box, see. And an Apple Powerbook. But no – as that legend of electronica Adamski once said, I love technology. What I object to, and in the strongest possible terms, are beautiful, traditional English folk tales repackaged in slick, bland, melodramatic, sub-Coldplay soft rock and cynically marketed to boring, meat-and-two-veg slackjawed morons for them to play in the Vectra while they’re driving to Carpet World, on the apparent premise that it’s an exciting and unprecedented marriage of tradition and technology, and on the actual premise that it’s mildly pleasant, easy-to-listen-to background music for tasteless idiots. I hate Jim Moray for the same reason I hate Kenny G. Jim Moray is not a folk musician in the same way that MacDonalds do not sell hog roasts.

For what seems like the next three hours, Jim and his band plod through Runrig-esque rock-pop tune after Runrig-esque rock-pop tune, all devoid of any passion, soul, or respect. Respect for the source material, or respect for modern music. The guitarist shuffles around self-consciously with his shiny new stratocaster and looks like he’d probably be able to instantly tell you the square root of any 7-figure number. He does smooth, American RockFM-friendly solos with a tasteful amount of reverb and overdrive. The bassist has an expensive bodiless upright, and he plays it smoothly and proficiently. The drummer, well, he’s no Elvin Jones. But he doesn’t have to be. As Owen, my companion for the night noted, it’s the first time in a long time he’s been to a gig where he could have played any of the parts. And we’ve been to lots of gigs recently. And of course, because this is a folk gig, the songs are all about Cuckoo’s Nests, Bonnie Black Hares, Raggle Taggle Gypsies, Rose-cheeked Milkmaids and the like. There’s a constant stream of urine flowing from each of the band members, and it falls collectively upon the corpses of everyone that’s ever written, performed and enjoyed listening to these songs in the days before recording, in the days when songs were sung and handed down through generations purely to entertain or to educate, with no marketing bullshit and no desire to get rich at the public’s expense. In the days before Pro Tools could sequence clinical, reverbed glockenspiel to add colour to a live track.

And in some ways, it was the glockenspiel and synthesized string quartet that made me the angriest. Here are four guys on tour, playing live. Presumably they have glockenspiel on some songs from their album. Presumably they also have a string quartet, playing sweeping, but slightly lame string sounds. Great. They have every right to those things. But if they want to have a glockenspiel in their live set, I’d prefer them to have a glockenspiel player. Not an Apple Powerbook trotting out a few simple notes of accompaniment. Why does this make me angry? Because it smacks of the fear by the marketers of the live sound deviating too much from the songs that people have heard on the radio, at all costs. As if the audience will walk out of the gig and demand their money back if they don’t get a perfect reproduction of the song they heard on the Ken Bruce show. You don’t need me to tell you that this is NOT what live music should be about.

It turns out that Jim Moray is only 21. We all have different ideas of success, but I would not be happy to think that I was being mildly championed by Ken Bruce to a nation of musically apathetic 50 year olds at any age, let alone when I’ve only just got the key to the door. Is this any worse than a bunch of 21 year olds starting a Green Day tribute band? I’m inclined to say that yes, it is.

But then – am I being reactionary here? Were the same things said in the 60s when Fairport Convention and their contemporaries started melding English folk and rock into one significant new sound? They were simply taking traditional song forms, and melodic ideas, and bringing them up to date by incorporating them into a modern rock framework. Isn’t that what Jim Moray is doing? Is Jim Moray, in actual fact, a visionary genius bringing people’s folk heritages bang up to date? Reminding them of things that would otherwise be forgotten? And if Jim is seemingly only popular with ordinary, common people, isn’t that what folk music was all about in the first place? Giving the common people a voice?

I get so confused. Now, where did I put that tankard of mead?

MAGIK MARKERS – Nottingham Social Liars Club

Posted: April 29th, 2005, by Chris Summerlin

Behind me, a man wearing an Australian Rugby shirt cut down into a sleeveless vest as a fashion item is yelling
‘PLAY YOUR F*CKING DRUMS!’
His friend has a quite nice two-tone dye job on his hair and is wearing a blazer with a military vibe to it. He is yelling far more random outbursts but in a similar vein:
‘NICE SONG!’
and
‘LEARN HOW TO PLAY!’ are two of them.
There is a girl standing behind me with her back to me and she is punctuating everything she says with weird muscle spasms of either her cigarette hand or the hand clutching a glass of white wine, which is pissing down my back every time she says anything.
Despite this I am grinning like a fool.
Just an hour earlier all these people were dancing to the opening band. I don’t remember what they were called which is sort of stupid because I am reviewing this. They had guitar, vocals and drums. The female singer had an amazing voice.
Amazing because it was Siouxie Sioux’s and she must have stolen it. It made me hope Siouxie was having a quiet night in and not out at a party where she was supposed to be the life and soul, as without her voice it would have been hard for her. I hope she has called the authorities. Anyway, people were dancing in a sort of robotic way with fag hand outstretched, occasionally stopping to pull out a camera phone and record the moment.
This is Liars Club and despite the overwhelming sensation of being someone’s Dad at a disco, I always have a decent time.
Everyone is dressed in a way that proves they must have some disposable income. Not because their clothes are expensive but if you’re wearing a lemon golf sweater with matching visor, a Columbo rain mac and spats then you best not be getting public transport back to Bulwell.
So anyway, if I was going to create a band that best typified the worst parts of Liars Club then it would be the first band, name not known. One girl in particular who always reminds me of Princess Di for some reason, strutted back and forth in front of the stage so often checking herself out, I couldn’t even deal with being in the room.
When they finished, there was a sudden influx of not-quite-so-well-dressed folks waiting for the second band. NYC’s Magik Markers. Not often a band on Ecstatic Peace gets to play Liars Club.
Even when they were setting up there seemed to be a gulf between them and the environment. I mean; they look sharper than I do (not hard) but they seem out of place. It endears them to me. As does the roadie for the last band (name not known) who is so obnoxiously in-their-face when they are setting up that I can physically feel the tension between them.
He brushes the bassist aside to search for something he dropped with about 6 Maglites and prevents them from starting playing. It’s a pretty weird scenario.
The DJs were still playing as they started up but they didn’t f*ck about. They are immediately amazing. I don’t know how much of that is to do with the band and how much of my enjoyment they engineer or how much comes from the sheer weirdness of the situation. My favourite gigs have so little to do with the band and if they’re on form and so much to do with surroundings and little coincidences and events that transpire. This is the perfect example.
The change that has come over the singer is empowering in itself. She has her foot on the monitor, glowering at the crowd and spouting forth fast jabber preaching while punctuating this with tons and tons of guitar noise’ less played, more wrestled. I spend the first 10 mins crouched down at her feet before feeling supremely uncomfortable and having to move back a bit. They deal less in the build up and more in the total crescendo in immediate form. The guitar and bass are set up to give no time to notes and everything they do on them spews forth differing tones and noises (but never notes). It’s hard to tell whether they are unschooled or if they’ve managed to liberate themselves from any knowledge they might have had. Or if they are just plain furious.
They clear the back of the room pretty quickly and as I move back myself to get a good view the gig gets better and better as their howling and slashing mixes with people’s heckles and utter confusion. I can’t stress this enough. Magik Markers are f*cking BREAKING some of these kids. They don’t know what to do ‘ I don’t know what to do either except just laugh my ass off. It just serves to highlight how much of a ritual most of what passes as alternative culture has become that something can baffle so easily.
It just keeps getting better, reaching a peak where the guitar breaks down, leading to impassioned ad lib lyrics about guitarists with no hands but a big heart. Princess Di stands up in this part and in some kind of drug induced stupor begins trying to catch her own tail and latch onto a beat or something familiar, clutching at the singers face and feet and her own camera phone. It’s ghoulish and perfect. At times it’s like she’s about to cry and she looks really lost. I am caught between horror and crippling laughter. She is looking back at us all, not sure what to do, looking completely vacant and behind her the singer from MMs is going absolutely apeshit on her twenty dollar guitar with an electric toothbrush.
The drummer seems to want a better vantage point and climbs onto the bass drum leading uber male roadie man to rush onstage mid song and physically pull him off. It looks for a moment like a fight is going to happen between them but roadie dude is a mountain of a man and the howling noise continues to soundtrack blank shrugs and ‘what the f*ck is going down?’ expressions from the band.
Finally the bassist takes off her bass and lies it down to begin pounding it with any available object. I genuinely feel this is on the verge of getting properly out there and uncontrolled and that Magik Markers will play all night when the tech dude runs on and turns the bass amp off ‘ obviously borrowed gear. It’s a perfect end. I am moved to heckle the roadie without even thinking and the whole thing leaves me feeling super energised.
I missed the last band but nothing was going to top that, it was incredible. Half of the people I went with hated it and half loved it. I don’t know ifI loved the band but as a gig it was unbelievable.
The only thing that could have made it better was to find out the roadie and Princess Di girl were part of Magik Markers all along thus making it the best piece of theatre ever acted.

Addition! March 2006 – James Smith proves himself to be a god amongst men by putting footage of this show on You Tube. Click here!!!

SLINT – ATP

Posted: April 26th, 2005, by Chris Summerlin

I wrote a review of ATP and found most of it concentrated on Slint so I scrapped it and decided to write this piece about why I love the band instead.
I can’t understate how important Slint ‘ or the idea of Slint ‘ was and still is to me.
I have always made and been fascinated with (largely instrumental) sparse, dramatic music. I come from the Fens where any car journey, even between the closest 2 towns, means time spent looking at absolutely nothing and somehow wordless music fits it perfectly. There’s so much on the horizon that’s packed with stories but yet remains totally unspoken. The first band I was in rehearsed in 2 places ‘ a theatre in the neighbouring town 12 miles away and a cattle shed on a disused railway track that was literally in the middle of nowhere. It was supremely bizarre but at the time it seemed normal.
If you’ve ever been to the Fens you know it’s a place of maximum weirdness. One night I was driving my friend Nick out to his house (where the cattle shed rehearsal space was) and a puma ran across the road in front of the car. No shit. We sat there in the car at his house for an age before either of us dared bolt in through the door.
We mentioned this to Nick’s mum. She calmly told us that when opening the curtains in the mornings she had frequently seen big cats in their back garden. A local farmer told us he loses sheep regularly to a black panther and told us he keeps quiet about it because he doesn’t like a fuss.
I went to a party in Nick’s only neighbours house and ended up locked in a bathroom while the host went apeshit with a hedge trimmer, Texas Chainsaw Massacre style.
My neighbours were much worse. I grew up with the Yorkshire Ripper, the Krays and Dennis Nielson in my town, thanks to the major industry being a maximum security prison.
There was a spate of UFO activity one summer. I saw a white light bolt across the sky above me in early evening light. I was pretty stoned. A crop circle showed up two days later which we spent a long evening laying on our backs in the centre.
I’m talking about a place in the world where everything’s really visual and taken as read without much need for clarification. People talk endlessly in the Fens but they just go over and over small details about nothing much. The big stories are taken as read and never verbalised. Local gangsters floating face down in drainage dykes, bloated to twice their normal size. The happy couple and kid running the local bar have the same surname and they’re not married ‘ know what I mean? And it’s their kid. Or the whole town closing on a Saturday because of fear of rioting when the National Front comes to town in support of Tony Martin (remember him?).
Instrumental, dramatic music makes sense in this landscape. Especially when the only time you listen to music is in the car, looking out at all this quiet, mysterious land. It’s what unsaid that gives the drama.
I was already into Mogwai, having seen them with Pavement at the Astoria. Then going to see them on tour I got to see Aerial M a few times and they made perfect sense to me. The weird chords, the euphoric but sinister sounds. Everything was a little woozy and unusual and it seemed to fit with my life somehow. This was pre-internet for me so it took a while for Slint to filter down and the connections to be cemented between them and the music I was starting to like but when I got Spiderland it was a real revelation. This music was so expansive and creepy ‘ creepy is the key ‘ that it was custom built for living where I lived.
The pace and the air between the notes coupled to the genuinely unsettling vocals seemed to sound so amazing played at night driving along the A47, or sitting on my friend Kevin’s car bonnet one night as the Whittlesey Wash had flooded and the road was off limits, illuminated by moonlight as owls flew overhead. Slint seemed to be about the unspoken stories and rumours and plain unsettling quality of the small community. The music itself had a real narrative; the notes were saying something and the vocals just reinforced it. It was perfect.
It was impossible for it not to have an effect on me as someone learning to play guitar and just starting to make music of my own.
I remember the first time I went to a real recording studio the engineer asked us to bring in records we liked the sound of and one of them was Spiderland. I think Shellac was another and maybe King Crimson’s Red. I don’t think any of the music I have ever made necessarily sounds like Slint but there are certain parts I can remember being directly influenced to the point where it was in tribute.
The irony was that right at the time I was starting to play music, Pajo from Slint was living down the road in Norwich. That seemed to further confirm some sort of link and when bands like Navigator (from Norwich) popped up on the radar it seemed like a lot of people were having the same ideas.
When I moved to a city it seemed like Slint disappeared from my listening tastes. I did not stop liking them, Spiderland and Tweez and the EP were there but they weren’t listened to as much. That was maybe around the year 2000. I kept up with the post Slint releases. Aerial/Papa/M especially. It seemed perfect that a heartbreak weekend spent going mental in Scotland was soundtracked by 2 gorgeous Papa M shows in 2001. The For Carnation and Palace too had a profound effect on me. I had heard them before but it seemed like moving to a city was the catalyst for them making sense as they were so intimate that they offered a place to escape to that was completely insulated. I am such a geek I even used Pajo’s old Palace/For Carnation guitar to record the last Reynolds album as it belonged to my housemate who bought it from Pajo a few years before.
So when Slint announced a reformation I was surprised and a little disappointed. Looking back now I think maybe it’s because I’d just forgotten what Slint actually sounded like. They have unwittingly become the flag bearers for a particularly odious, head music coming out of cities (mainly Chicago) that I got wrapped up in and then got repulsed by as gigs became more and more like Dungeons & Dragons fanclub conventions. I think I was lumping Slint in with the bands that followed them.
I don’t know anybody from Slint but I emailed Pajo anyway. It went along the lines of:
“Don’t do this. It undermines the stuff you’re doing now which is amazing. However, if you do do this I will be at the front cheering you on because I am a fan and I am also a cocksucker”.
Unsurprisingly I did not get a reply.
So, like a cocksucker, I bought a ticket and I went. The event wasn’t much of a party. It was arctic in it’s weather conditions and much of the weekend was spent getting battered by snow of biblical proportions. It got to Friday and I still hadn’t thought about Slint’s music at all. I think in my head I had an idea like
“Slint? They’re a math rock band from Chicago”.
Then all of a sudden I started to think about the band and why I liked them and I began thinking about their songs. Even surrounded by drunk students in Slint hoodies I started to get excited.
I did not even drink on Saturday and got to the front for Slint. Sure enough everyone else who 2 days before had said
“Yeah, Slint are OK but I’m not that fussed about seeing them”
was down the front pressed against the railing with dribble coming out of the corners of their mouth.
The tension, not only of the moment but of the whole weekend with the weather and the slightly down feel, was unbearable.
There were no “hello”s or “thank you”s. The 4 band members edged onstage, on time, in total darkness and started with “For Dinner”. The sound was great. Maybe it was because I was so close to the front but it was plenty loud, especially when it seemed The Melvins were playing on half power the night before.
The first surprise was that Brian McMahan handed guitar duties over to his brother Michael for songs where he sang. It proved to work well as the intricacies of the vocals on the records were replicated perfectly, even over the din the band could cook up. Second surprise was that certain vocal duties were handled by Britt Walford (whilst drumming for the verses of Nosferatu Man and sitting with guitar for Washer), leaving McMahan side of stage to interject where needed but largely to stand still looking awkward in the half light. Each song ended with the lights being taken down to total darkness and complete onstage silence. Rather than seeing it as being a cold emotionless recreation of the records like many criticised it for it seemed more to me to be completely in keeping with the creepy, sparse mood that made me like Slint in the first place. I think maybe people were judging Slint by their supposed contemporaries stage show (Shellac, Jesus Lizard, Mogwai etc) when in fact the key to what makes Slint amazing is that they had no contemporaries.
Unreleased song Pam managed to wipe out the math rock genre with one foul swoop. It was stupidly heavy. It was missed from the second London show set list.
Glenn was a real “hairs on the back of the neck” moment. It too was heavy but only in it’s pondering, sluggish, malevolent manner. I had forgotten how amazingly heavy Slint are.
The Tweez tracks were played faithfully, even the processed guitar sound which sounded incredible blaring out of the PA.
The people around me were insane. One guy shouted and whooped constantly, which is cool because I was excited but there’s something weird to me about cheering on songs that have this level of menace. It seems perverted.
They closed naturally with Good Morning Captain. It sounded amazing. Photographers scrummed with each other at the end to capture the precise moment McMahan yelled “I MISS YOU!”. The band all looked visibly shaken to be playing the music and for once I felt a myth was bizarrely kept in tact by a reformation.
Even when the couple next to me whooped at the opening bars and began slow dancing I found it easy to lock it out and enjoy it, if that’s the right word.
Other ATPs have been curated by party bands of a certain nature (maybe not Autechre but I missed that one) and people’s criticisms seem to come from the sombre mood of Slint’s performance. I personally can’t believe that a music this wilfully odd could attract as many people as it did and so I felt a lot of people simply did not like Slint full stop, rather than thinking the gig was bad.
I am a cocksucker, they did a great job. They reminded me of what a unique and personally important band Slint were to me which is surely the point right?
It took me back to a time and a geography that I won’t get back. I think it’s notable that when bands like Slint and Mogwai and Navigator etc moved away from the countryside they began to change their sound ‘ Mogwai within the band and Slint by breaking into different sections each a polar opposite to Slint.
It happened to me too. As soon as I got a city I found my musical tastes veered towards vocal music, or angry music, or dense music. Slint no longer made sense. That’s also why those Chicago Slint variants and the whole math genre fail so miserably to inject their music with any of the other worldlyness Slint had. They’re city people, their music is out of sorts with their environment and somehow misses out on a kind of truth that comes with being in touch with your surroundings and a language you can build up with the people you play with if you’re on the same wavelength. The post-Slint bands frequently took the bustle of Slint but took it as being evocative of their lives and surroundings. They extracted something from Slint’s music that wasn’t the key element. The aggro in Slint’s music is more of a calm and storm approach. It’s not about busyness or anger or aggression. It’s about tension and drama and a suppression of the things other bands scream about. It’s timeless. It’s real country music. Slint could never have come from Chicago, they are totally rural. Like me, which is why I love them.

Last night

Posted: April 26th, 2005, by Chris Summerlin

Did anyone else watch the documentary on the AIDS epidemic that swept through the LA porn industry that was on Channel 4 last night? Pretty crazy stuff. Don’t you just hate it when some American (usually) man gives this as an excuse for his actions?
“We live in America. Wasn’t this nation built on the right to freedom of expression?”.
This was used by some producer guy to justify making a ‘Gonzo’ porn movie where the female character is a reporter in Iraq who gets captured and raped by Bin Laden before being rescued by the Marines, whom she blows off as a sign of gratitude.
I have no issue with porn and neither do I care what anyone does to anybody else as long as both parties are equally willing and able to decide. But justifying the rise in aggressive, nasty, humiliating, non-sexual (i.e. not related to the act of sex itself) pornography by saying it’s a person’s given right to make it? Hmmm….

Yes, pies!

Posted: April 20th, 2005, by Marceline Smith

I thought I was forgetting something when I was posting about why the Grand Ole Opry is so great the other day but I really can’t believe I forgot about THE MAN SELLING HOT PIES. The sooner all venues have a man wandering around the audience with hot pies for sale, the sooner I can give up my plans to become evil dictator of the world.

But anyway, ALL TOMORROWS PARTIES is here, once again. I’m getting the train tomorrow and hope to see some of you there. We’re usually at the bar side of the room between gigs (which room depends on many things) or getting overexcited in the arcade. So, look out for us. There’s photos on some of our profiles linked on the left there and I’ll be selling hot pies BOXES on the record stalls on Sunday morning (so bring a spare fiver).

This is pretty funny

Posted: April 16th, 2005, by Chris Summerlin

http://improveverywhere.com/mission_view.php?mission_id=42
If I find out there’s a diskant version thats been bolstering the crowd at Lords gigs I am going to be unhappy though.

It’s time for two more links

Posted: April 16th, 2005, by Simon Proffitt

NWA’s Straight Outta Compton and Fuck The Police with all non-explicit content removed. The inverse radio edits.

Please visit my page at Gigposters.com

Posted: April 15th, 2005, by Chris Summerlin
Hello. Please visit my page at www.gigposters.com – it’s here. Log in and support my poster designs on these grounds:
1. You can read the band name
2. They promote the gig not the designer
3. They aren’t bullshit faggy emo horsehit with letterpress imaging on brown paper
4. They have all the information on them (i.e. they’re an actual gig poster not a piece of design connected to an event)
5. People think a talking sandwich sucks when obviously, it doesn’t.

VIVA STEREO – The Surface Has Been Scratched EP (Much Better)

Posted: April 14th, 2005, by Alex McChesney

Beep… Beepbeepitybeep… Blame a squandered youth spent indoors cultivating a cathode-ray tan when I could have been out interacting with other kids and developing social skills and the like, but I’m a sucker for music that sounds like it could be from an 8-bit computer game. As a result, track one on this EP – “Jesus Son” – has my sympathies right away. Then it immediately goes and squanders them by turning into a lazy Primal Scream knockoff, as if Bobby Gillespie were replaced by a rhyming dictionary. “Severed Head” does a bit better, ditching the guitars in favour of the electro-funk thing, but again the vocals spoil it with sub-Gallagher “can’t be fucked singing properly” whining. “One Last Cigarette, One Last Call” is an instrumental that makes heavy use of synth-strings. Enough said there, I think. Final track “Junk” returns to the plundering of 90’s ecstasy casualties, but this time it’s the Happy Mondays who get the treatment, with similar results. Meh.

Viva Stereo

THE SCARAMANGA SIX – We Rode The Storm (Wrath)

Posted: April 14th, 2005, by Alex McChesney

It’s nice to hear a band having fun, and given that The Scaramanga Six come from Yorkshire, where, as is my (admittedly limited) understanding, there’s nothing much else to do but hang around in coal mines drinking brown ale and watching whippet races, one can hardly begrudge them that. Rocking out glam style is the order of the day throughout the four tracks of this single. Saxophones skwonk, riffs riff, and lyrics are all knowing rock’n’roll braggadocio, with tongues not quite as cheek-penetrating as the suspiciously similarly-named Electric 6, but certainly enough to cause minor speech difficulties in the band’s members. The second track “Pincers” is probably the best of the lot. I wonder if the chorus is referencing Dark Side Of The Moon or The Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack? I don’t suppose it’s important, but the piano, saw and surface-noise break in the middle invokes a sense of movie-matinee kitsch that makes me suspect that their affections are with the latter.

The world really doesn’t need a band like The Scaramanga Six, and neither do you, but like a final After-Eight found nestling among the empty wrappers after the guests have all left, they’re nice to have.

There’s a video on this CD as well. Nice shirts.

The Scaramanga Six
Wrath Records