Clearing the decks
Part 1
I was reading Everettís blog entry for April 7th today and noticed how he said he couldnít write his columns or his book at the moment. Itís something I can empathise with completely, finding it so hard myself to write anything at all. Iím not entirely sure I know why, except that itís probably a case of so many things collecting together calling for attention and my not being able to afford the time to do any of them the justice they deserve. Cram your life with too many things and no matter how enjoyable they are, they end up clogging that life; ultimately sucking out the pleasure so that they become just another burden to lug around on your aging shoulders.

Maybe itís a question of paring down, of having the courage to toss aside the not truly great, to focus only on that which really thrills. Like Deloris.

Deloris begin their long awaited Fake Our Deaths album with a song called Ďthe unbroken part of ití that hinges dramatically around the line ďthis is how itís to beginĒ. Itís mesmerising and addictive, the kind of sensitively muscular thing Iíd almost forgotten about in the midst of frothing sweet Swedish Pop. This is music that works around the blueprints of Rock but that which doodles on those blueprints with layers of intriguing pathways which meander through urban streetscapes before opening suddenly on vistas overlooking bays of sparkling bluegreen sea or deserts of sun bleached stone and sand. Itís a Rock that believes in the value of literacy, a Rock that relishes the meaning and sound of words intricately bound and treasured. Itís a wordy Rock that never feels burdened by the weight of those words, and thatís a difficult feat to achieve.

Deloris make me think of many things, some of which are real and some of which arenít, and thatís the beauty of the best Rock or the best Pop of course. So I want to listen to Deloris standing on an old harbour wall, face turned to the west feeling the ravaging sea pepper my skin with ice cold kisses. I want to listen to Deloris in the dead of night by the ruined castle, the scent of bluebells rising in the air and the thought of a face lost in too many years of forgotten histories ghosting around in my eyes. I want to hear Deloris coming out of the stereo when Iím sitting at the bus station in the early morning light, huddled in my broken leather jacket reading the early paper, imagining like Iím Phil Ochs. I want to hear Deloris enter my dreams of climbing mountains and gazing down on games on the village green, familiarly strange lips on mine kissing me awake to emptiness with the startled amazement of loves first gasp.

Itís about ordinary moments turned into the extraordinary. Itís about emotional attachment to place and time and the things that people our lives like passing Polaroids already fading in the light. Itís about making everything up as you go, about writing your own myths and legends, about drawing personal treasure maps with the keys and symbols kept hidden in your heart. Itís about simultaneously not giving away too much whilst pouring out your very soul.

This is how itís to begin, indeed.
Labelmates Wolf And Cub also begin their eponymous EP in an entrancing manner, with the Loop-like psych pounding of ĎTargetsí. Over a heavy drum and guitar led maelstrom a disembodied voice yelps and growls like a young Nick Cave drowning in a sea of echo and blood. Itís utterly magnificent. Elsewhere thereís a mixture of short two minute bursts of noise and six minute trip-outs, the best of which is the chasm of ĎPoison Fangí which descends into dubbed out psychosis after two and half minutes of Seeds on overdrive garage acid freakbeat. Dark, threatening, monstrously shadowy and utterly enthralling.

Also on Dot Dash, Nightstick meanwhile make an ungodly Pop racket that Iím filing away in my Buzzcocks / Voidoids / Saints / early Damned (ĎInvisible Maní is the best re-write of ĎNew Roseí Iíve heard in years) pigeonhole. Apparently inspired by the precision of Formula 1 pit crews, Nightstick have trained themselves to set up their stage equipment in less than 10 seconds. Thatís pretty impressive stuff and the kind of thing destined to appeal to the part of me that hates hanging around in those dead moments of shows between bands. Even better, I expect their actual set times are brutally short, certainly if the brevity of the songs on their eponymous EP are anything to go by. Five songs, a fraction over ten minutes long, packed with noise and melody, itís the kind of thing that pisses all over the majority of so-called ĎPunkí emanating from teenagersí bedrooms these days. They even have a song called ĎSaintsí that could be a tribute to the great Brisbane original Punk group of Ďthis perfect dayí fame, but then again it might not. What the fuck do I know? All I know is I love this noise right now and thatís all that counts.

Another noise I love right now is the one being made by Soeza on their Why Do You Do? set on Gringo. A few years ago Soeza featured Playwrights Ben Shillabeer and Aaron Dewey in their line up, and the sound is hardly surprisingly not a million miles from the melodically fractured dynamic of Bristolís current finest. Not that Soeza are far behind in chasing that throne, and certainly the angular sweetness and chiaroscuro of songs like the downbeat ĎDownscaleí and the marvellously yawning seven minute epic (in the right sense) ĎGenuflectí do their cause no harm at all. French Horn bursts against roaming drum patterns; guitars tangle like playful tiger pups on a backdrop of Sea and Cake bass. And over it all Jenny Robinsonís suburbanely soulful voice rubbing just the right way against Ben Owens rough edged interludes, like roses blooming in the beautiful abandonment of rusted burnt out cars. At times it recalls the magic of the still sorely missed Life Without Buildings, at others more the Math Rock leanings of the old American stable of the likes of June of 44. All of which means that Soeza are certainly a name to add to the notebook of names to watch out for.

Already in that notebook is the name of Controller.Controller, another crack team in the Canadian Invasion of recent years. The aforementioned Ben Shillabeer is responsible for the UK release of their seven song History set on his Sink and Stove label, and itís a brilliant companion piece to compatriots The Organís Sinking Hearts EP on the same label. Like The Organ, Controller.Controller seem to draw on the early Ď80s for inspiration, and for sure there are hints of the likes of P.i.L and Slits in there. And to pick up on one of John Carneyís recent re-discoveries, you could also join a notional line back to the sound of Zounds, though I suspect Controller.Controller may not be aware of that particular connection. More relevant still might be angles drawn out to meet the Punk / Disco interface of the Ze No-Wave, or to ESG and their spooked space funk. Certainly Controller.Controller make a contemporary fractious fiery Pop implosion thatís more that worth celebrating.

© 2005 Alistair Fitchett

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