"...a good half of the record is a stupor-filled strum, occasionally morphing into white, atonal, blues-inflected noise. Was this the sound of Dick Dale’s tinnitus? "
The Heads – Dead in the Water
Rock and roll! A cover boasting the Jaws poster and titles that could be streams of consciousness (or set lists) says rock n roll to me, for sure. Each track (or mini set) is about 20 minutes long and consists in the main of lo-fi growl-athons that are a whisker away from blowing up the amplification.
On Prologue/’69 shakes of the tail, mystic healer (“suck my tail pipe”) there’s an initial feeling of Sebadoh with the cut-up sound samples but that soon fades into a blistering set of free guitar rock, with West Coast attitudes meeting proto Hawkwind metal moves in an almighty head-on. The drumming keeps things meditational, never really letting rip and allowing the guitar to phase everything else into oblivion. It’s a great opening gambit, linear, not really disappearing into obtuse space rock territory, nor really allowing anything to invade its singular vision, despite the odd (sampled) respite.
Okay, set two, (entitled A bite?/backpool loop, It cannot become obsolete…., “sat up all night, just looking at it”, less is more) is a more reflective set, a good half of the record is a stupor-filled strum, occasionally morphing into white, atonal, blues-inflected noise. Was this the sound of Dick Dale’s tinnitus?
The next set, Blue Water, White Death” P on the b. driver, lonesome drone, back garden/basking, Beyond the reef, a… “Fatty got us a gig” is more of a groove-fest, clearly aimed at the fat bikers market (if any LP had to be the soundtrack to an on the road bikers film, it has to be this). It’s also very ‘60s freak out in feel; that is until someone starts cheekily noodling around with the ghosts of Hallogallo and Super amongst other cool things… Very pop art.
How many are left? (parts 2 and 5), Mako/lake heyena/ "Open Water", Slow Descent of the south face, tidal break, EP in A. is last up and decides, (you know, just as a pat on the back for getting this far) to treat us to some really grumbling, prehistoric atonal noise; it’s like a bunch of chimps trying to cover Sister Ray or a Terry Riley cut-up. And it does belie a massive nod to Neu! 2 I have to say…. but somehow it works and, due to its warped Neanderthal take on things, is by far the best track on here.
Extremely rewarding for the patient, but not for the faint hearted.
Words: Richard Foster