"But, overlook this LP at your peril. It has got that elusive something special tag, that spark of genuine creation that is impossible to manufacture or summon at will."
Archie Bronson Outfit – Derdang Derdang.
This is a cracker of a record, a belter; a veritable Bobby Dazzler. Moreover, it is a cracker all the more so for drawing on a free space/blues-rock tradition that has served many artists, good bad and indifferent these past 30 years. With this information to hand, you would be forgiven for assuming all the usual licks and riffs are present on Derdang Derdang, as well as the "loose" attitudes and drawling lyrics – so much so that you would think you would be better served by grabbing your Groundhogs LPs and playing them in a gesture of "rock purity". But, overlook this LP at your peril. It has got that elusive something special tag, that spark of genuine creation that is impossible to manufacture or summon at will.
Okay now for a descriptive cresta run through the songs, in true Derdang Derdang style.
I suppose the organic nature of Derdang Derdang comes from the months of jamming that preceded and later informed the final recording. Whatever, the finished item is incredibly sharp, pacy and fresh. The opener Cherry Lips has that full on Groundhogs intensity to it; nothing goes too overboard and the playing retains a clipped ruthless decision making that only comes from absolute artistic surety. And the sax (is it sax?) accompaniment at the end is fucking brilliant, the best since Faust's It's a Rainy Day (Sunshine Girl).
Kink takes a very, erm, familiar riff - prizes of a pint for a correct identification, readers – and bludgeons it to death in true Faust meets Birthday Party style. Singer Sam Windett's voice here is just the right side of deranged, a quality that gives the song its peculiar, dumb-ass sensibility. Dart for My Sweetheart has a thump about it, reminding one of an incredibly stoned take on Franz Ferdinand's Take Me Out (maybe someone should play them back to back at the local hipsters disco). Indeed, maybe it is the country hick turning up to pay its city slicker cousin an unwelcome visit. I hope so. Next up, Got to Get (Your Eyes) is a holler that has a Fall-style staccato style guitar shuffle underpinning it's rhythm. Otherwise it is very much in keeping with the rest of the fare on this LP; a full-on guitar blitz, accompanied by some very bug-eyed wailing from Mr Windett. Elsewhere, Dead Funny has a folksy, luminous quality to it, very reminiscent of Yeti-era Amon Duul2 (despite the thumping beat). As for the pace of Derdang Derdang, it just never relents.
Modern Lovers is an unhinged stop-start rant that always threatens to take off but never quite does; (note to self, do I hear a ML organ sound in here? I think I do...) Cuckoo takes a space-folk guitar groove and builds on it in true Krautrock fashion. It is all incredibly trippy stuff. The following two tracks, How I Sang Dang and Rituals are Neanderthal hoe downs of considerable intensity and power. In addition, Rituals is graced by some galloping Reynard the Fox drum patterns which give the song considerable kick. In total contrast to the rest of the album the last song, Harp for my Sweetheart, (a response to Dart for My Sweetheart) is a wonderfully quiet acoustic full stop to the proceedings. Phew...
There you have it; an absolutely enthralling listen children. An album that goes utterly against the mode, and an album that is probably bound to be unpopular with the trend-hounds. With this in mind, one goes as far as to say a pretty essential purchase.
Words: Richard Foster.