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TOUCHERS – The Underwater Fascist (CD)

Posted: June 30th, 2007, by Simon Minter

This is the first I’ve heard of Montana’s Touchers, but on the evidence of this, their sixth long-player, they are in a strange place. The sleeve folds out to reveal a collage including Nazi children, a three-breasted pinup model, several guillotines and many sharks. Perhaps The Underwater Fascist is a concept album, then, a meditation on aquatic fascism; but this isn’t obvious from the music here. Not that that’s a problem – the thirteen tracks need no over-arching theme to do their job. They do just fine as they are. And what they are is a dizzying collection of rockabilly rhythms, throat-shredding screeching vocals, upbeat pop melodies and an unhealthy bucketload of weirdness and threatening desperation.

The most obvious musical reference point is Come On Pilgrim-era Pixies: latino skipping timings, clean guitar lines and damaged-sounding vocals that veer from gruff proclamations to screaming outbursts. I have literally no idea what songs such as ‘Aphrodite Has Gone Mad’, ‘The Mattress Song’, ‘February 22nd 1975’ or ‘Brain’ might be about, but then I’ve never been much of a lyrical analyst. What Touchers are good at is creating an atmosphere of something, an ethereal weirdness that’s as unsettling as it is musical and listenable.

Tracks like ‘Michigan’, with its rolling drumbeats and frenetic strummed guitar, butt up against odd acoustic singalongs like ‘There’s The Rub’, which seems to open with the line “I think you are beautiful, but you are for the worms”. There’s certainly a variety of styles and moods on display here, but I guess that despite what I wrote earlier, an over-arching musical theme becomes apparent as the album comes to a close. Touchers sound like a little like many bands at times – Melvins, Pixies, even Butthole Surfers on the closing musique concrete noise of ‘Fire When Ready’ – but they retain a uniquely strange vibe and a confident grasp of whatever they’re about as a band. I’m still trying to work out what that is, but it’s certainly a positive thing.


Simon Minter

Simon joined diskant after falling on his head from a great height. A diskant legend in his own lifetime Simon has risen up the ranks through a mixture of foolhardiness and wit. When not breaking musical barriers with top pop combo Sunnyvale Noise Sub-element or releasing records in preposterously exciting packaging he relaxes by looking like Steve Albini.


1 Response to TOUCHERS – The Underwater Fascist (CD)

  1. Simon P

    What an excellent band name.