13th Hole - Jack is Back


We have taken your melodies, they have not been harmed but please buy this cd or we will hurt them very badly indeed and send pieces of them back to you.






The cover is delightful. It makes me think of 1970's crime dramas like Jason King and Ironside. I don't know why, but it's classy and the guy looks like he's been culled from the pages of a detective comic. The cover is dedicated to Pierre la Police, who I'll admit to having absolutely no knowledge of whatsoever, but that name only reinforces my thoughts and it's a cool cover so I'll give them bonus points for that. There's also a note in the sleeve that says the cd itself is dedicated to John Peel, so they get a bonus point for that too.


This is the type of album Peel would love. There are excellent songs and wonderful melodies in here somewhere, but they're hidden. In fact they're not just hidden, the band have taken their melodies, tied their hands and feet with rope, wrapped them in a dusty carpet and hidden them in the rafters of some barn in rural France. Left behind is a ransom note that says. "We have taken your melodies, they have not been harmed but please buy this cd or we will hurt them very badly indeed and send pieces of them back to you."


13th Hole are a Franco Italiano collaboration that have been knocking around France for the past decade or so. Peel invited them to record a session back in 94 and apparently they've relaxed their attitude a little since then. In other words they've started sending pieces of melody back in the post. In love with Sonic Youth and all things American and noisy 13th Hole seem to like taking a tune and strangling it to within an inch of its life. The good thing is they manage to do this rather well.


They score points for being unashamedly rugged and bristling with spite and venom and for having some mad woman on vocals. Isa is her name and, let me tell you, you wouldn't mess with her. She bellows her way through this album like she's looking for somebody's balls to plant her stiletto heels into. She's fantastic! 


There's no point trying to describe to you what each individual song is like, because they're all very similar in tone and attitude. There's a lot of grumbling basslines, lots of splashing cymbals and hard, relentless drum patterns, some intricate guitar work, some droning guitar work and occasionally some keyboards, but there's always some guy off to one side playing out of time or wrapping swathes of white noise around everything. The album sounds dusty, dirty and almost out of control but in fact it's very precise. You can tell everything's been placed just how they like it and I get the feeling that the band are just trying to keep themselves interested. If you're a grunge fan, you'll love it.


I don't expect this to take off in a big way, but for that certain section of the population that still dress like Eddie Vedder in 1994, this is the new release for you. It's loud, it's crazy and it rattles through it's 10 tracks quicker than my dear co-editor Richard can bring the merits of The Fall into any conversation, which takes less time than a cheetah can run 100 yards! The 13th Hole should be held proud by all of you that worship the Gods of White Noise. I mean, a bunch of French and Italian noise merchants with a screaming banshee on vocals? Who wouldn't enjoy that? Just send me the album cover.