Sven Agaath - Simple Field Calculator

...listening to King of Heart Attacks and Senseless Trips, you suspect the big joke Sven Agaath plays on us is to make us listen to a messy, bedroom take on Richie Blackmore or Kiss.

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Yet more music from Arno and Stefan Breuer and Gino Miniutti! I think these lads (part of Utrecht's Shaky Maraccas / Lost Bear collective) have some form of ADHD-compulsion to create. Nevertheless, they are mightily adept at what they do; they have made an artform out of making seemingly throwaway records; sounds that are deliberately unfinished, sounds that grate, and through this unfinished - or unpolished - status, ask questions. It's breezy and invigorating.

At first listen you could think there is a definite Guided By Voices vibe going on here;  recognisable from the album title, the cover's cut and paste artwork, through the buzzsaw guitars to the way the sounds chop and change at will. And the fact that everything's about a minute long; meaning that just as you get in the mood of one song it's gone. This can be bewildering in places on here as some tracks do follow on in the same key; if you don't pay attention it does sound like a series of half-finished passages in a greater work. But there are some great anthems buried under the goo and between the clever little interludes, baby noises and found sounds; Parking Lot and Temple are classic Generation X style switches between maudlin refrains and crashing,major chord-led choruses; all the while swamped in that buzzy grating guitar wash you'd associate with 90s alternative rock. And (whisper it) but there are some classic soft rock/pop songs hidden away in this record; listening to King of Heart Attacks and Senseless Trips, you suspect the big joke Sven Agaath plays on us is to make us listen to a messy, bedroom take on Richie Blackmore or Kiss. (And with Helmet Youth, Kiss pretending to be Mercury Rev back in the day when they used to be lunatics.)

It matters not. It's a questioning, breezy and damned cavalier rock record that takes on the consensus of nice Ned-indie rock (geddit!?! yes, thanks I win worst pun ever award) answering that consensus by looking to throw every sound and pre-conceived attitude or idea of taste into some kind of sonic concrete mixer. Yes it may be annoying in places but I'm very glad they are doing it.