It seems a long time ago now, but back in the summer, back when everything was wall-to-wall-sunshine, the Encoulettes and I ventured down-country to the ancient land of Cornovi to visit Dick Porter, scribe of said parish. We spent our days on the beach, building sand cairns and burial chambers. We spent our nights in the local, playing pool, smoking menthol. Grown-up pass-times once the kids were in bed included recording our rub-a-dub-soldier-pod-cast (see earlier post), and discussing the merits of ‘Crazy Spirit’.
You may have read Comrade Dick’s review of Crazy Spirit’s self-titled debut platter a couple of months ago in these very pages. As my Rhythm Pal asserts, it’s a raging juggernaut of malevolence that grows in menace with each consecutive spin. Crazy Spirit have indeed fashioned a sonic identity that could well be dubbed ‘Ramonic Possession’. Not in terms of replication, you understand, but in the intrinsic uniformity of the band’s signature sound. Although still resolutely 8-track in its approach to fidelity, ‘Crazy Spirit’ (Toxic State) transcends the miasma that engulfed previous recordings, emerging as perfect distorted clarity. It’s also one of the best-dressed-chickens-in-town with regard to its jacket and inserts: A phenomenal work of art.
Much has been written about Crazy Spirit elsewhere, mostly with reference to the drumming, but it’s the bass playing for me that lifts Crazy Spirit aloft to the pedestal. It attacks the fret board in an approach prevalent at the dawn of UK Punk: It’s filthy, it’s dirty, it’s never going to last. Punk Rock has a good habit of elevating bass to its rightful place in the best of its oeuvre, and Crazy Spirit’s crooked beat (falling-down-the-stairs-with-style-verve-and-wit) stoked by strident bass allows Eugene’s disgusting guitar sound and Walker’s Dalek-vocal-attack to weave in and out of the mix, dodging cut-ups, random features and violence, to fashion anti-hooks that invade your head and squat. Mark my words, behind the cloak of chaos, Crazy Spirit are one tight-as-fuck-machine. They will come after you; they will hunt you down.
Toxic State Records have been shitting essential vinyl for fun this year. In addition to ‘Crazy Spirit’, they’ve dropped ‘Go Home’, the debut long player from Hank Wood & The Hammerheads, and equally quality EPs from Nomad, Dawn Of Humans and Anasazi. You can nab zips of each from NYC blog, I Could Die Tomorrow, and buy the vinyl from LVEUM:
My second major long player of the summer has been Lust For Youth’s sophomore release, ‘Growing Seeds’ (Avant Records). Essentially early New Order swathed in garments of Scandinavian Cold Wave heritage, LFT defuse industrial aggregate to forge accessible angularity marinated in white noise. Vocals swim in fjords of reverb, analogue keyboards emit dust as they oscillate, beats exorcise the ghosts of discos past. LFY have been circulating in ever-increasing circles across the months I’ve been spinning this disc. Their name keeps cropping up in the most unlikely of conversations. I’m sure I’m not the first to tell you, and I’m sure I won’t be the last.
My final champion in this autumnal triumvirate of vital vinyl is Holograms’ eponymous debut long player (Captured Tracks). Holograms hail from Sweden, and push a heady concoction incorporating elements of Killing Joke in vocal approach, ‘3DEP’-era XTC in terms of commercial appeal, ‘Chairs Missing’-era Wire in respect of atmosphere, the odd Joy Division drum fill, the bass driven purpose of The Stranglers’ JJB circa ‘Black & White’, and a sullen and petulant attitude they share with fellow Scandinavian neighbours, Iceage. It’s a considered combination that sets the past against the future to achieve omnipresence.