Smith Research – SRV 21
This limited release – one of just 100 pressed – isn’t for sale, according to the Ceramic Hobs’ Facebook page: ‘The distribution of this recording is very special. It is not available for sale. No enquiries regarding it will receive a reply. Attempts to exchange money for it will result in your death. This is not a joke. You will be contacted individually at our discretion. We will watch eBay and discogs resales very closely. Attempts to sell what you received for free will also result in your death. Again, after thirty years, do you think we’re joking? We ask recipients kindly not share scans or photographs online of their individually made artwork in order to maintain the clandestine integrity of this operation.’
I’d just performed a selection of Rage Monologues as one of Sue Fox’s support acts at her book launch for The Viceral Tear, when a guy – who had previously ventured a question to the author about the connection between her publisher, Oneiros Books, and Creation Books.
Despite their credentials as ultra-avant-gardists, Ceramic Hobs demonstrate their ongoing non-conformity after some 30 years in existence with a pair of songs which are short, corresponding with the low-down, dirty lo-fi gritty punk rock they epitomise. And like the best punk rock, it’s not clean, pretty or overly concerned with melody or slick production values, favouring attitude – and even more attitude – over technique. And of course, it’s confrontational. 50 Shades of everything is all the rage (perhaps apart from my ’50 Shades of Shit’ e-book edition of This Book s Fucking Stupid), and while the dismal prose of EL James’ Twilight knock-off ‘mummyporn’ novels have spawned countless parodies and a lame softcore movie while supposedly spicing up the sex lives of middle England by introducing a dash of light simulation bondage, Ceramic Hobs with their connection to the industrial / power electronics scene were always more Sade than any pulp lit you’d find being marketed and available to purchase on the shelves of your local Tesco, ‘50 Shades of Snuff’
And so it is they serve up two slices of expletive-filled barrage of gnarliness. It’s like The Anti-Nowhere League covering GG Allin. Or maybe the other way round. And yes, it’s ace.
As for the flipside, what’s to say about DiscoMental’s take on ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’? A well-covered song, originally recorded by the Jackson 5 in 1971 and again by Michael Jackson alone in 1988 and by Gloria Gaynor in 1974, it also provided The Communards with one of their biggest hits in 1987. Popular it may be, but the truth is, it’s a fucking awful song. Needless to say, this version certainly won’t be a hit. It’s also utterly deranged, and while barely listenable, is far superior to any other version. A thumping rhythm produced by a primitive drum machine, simply programmed, pounds away to accompany gruff echo-drenched vocals. And that’s it The simplicity is its genius.
Since this record isn’t for sale, I shan’t recommend it, but if you happen to be offered a copy, take it.