The Dead C – Armed Courage

The cover is a classic too; the street battle scene is a statement of intent in a new setting, a case, maybe of saying, no, this is how you do it, you fey fucks…

www.badabingrecords.com http://www.konkurrent.nl

What a cosmic rumble this is. I’ve been listening to Dead C on and off for quite a while and they never ever disappoint. You see, there’s something so essential about what they do. One of the few bands that manage to grasp the total spirit of the recording and then present it as a fully coherent, cohesive work, how they keep translating this spirit through such well-trodden and often easily faked soundscapes is akin to divine mystery. But they do, repeatedly, and this LP, like the last 2 or 3, (especially that split with Ranga from earlier this year) is a joy if you like weird uncompromising and totally free music. Unlike many contemporaries they also manage to translate their sound onto record; really, for me there’s only them, Leiden’s brilliant Julie Mittens and the legendary Ash Ra Tempel, (when Schultze was bashing the skins), who can make consistently good free rock records. The cover is a classic too; the street battle scene is a statement of intent in a new setting, a case, maybe of saying, no, this is how you do it, you fey fucks…

On to the music. We get two long pieces, Armed and Courage. Armed is a welter of clattering squeaks and groans whilst using all the seemingly warring elements to maintain a sense of calm and ease. A mid tone fuzz starts to assert itself after a few minutes and that brings a full, rich layer to the sound, one that becomes increasingly ossified. It seems that the drums become a sort of pneumatic hammer in contrast; trying their best to dismantle this grey concrete soundscape. It’s a brilliant invocation of power and impermeable strength. When that job is done, things ease up and we start to melt away in a wash of mid tone fuzz. It’s brilliant. The second track (named, yup, you guessed it Courage) is initially more restrained, we get breathy vocals and the odd dolorous note or hesitant, impressionistic  bit of percussion, but soon things gradually flesh out to create a more determined, growling and metronomic work out. I have mentioned the similarity to early Guru Guru before and I’ll do it again; it starts to get deep into UFO territory, and then deep into some sort of free rock womb, but when has that ever been an issue?

Fabulous.