72% – How Is This Going To Make It Any Better?

Posted: 7 February 2022 in Albums
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Human Worth – 3rd December 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Shit happens, and lost in a tsunami of shit that is life with Christmas on top, the landing of Human Worth’s vinyl release of How Is This Going To Make It Any Better?, the third album from Northampton’s 72% originally released digitally and on cassette in 2019 was something I was aware of, but never got around to exploring. My loss.

It’s straight in with the clattering percussion that feels almost counterrhythmic, over which guitars skew in at obtuse angles, clanging and scratching – and then everything goes haywire and in less than a minute it’s a full-throttle assault: ‘I Have No Idea What You Want Me to Do’ brings the ugly sonic churn of Swans’ debut album, Filth, a record that still lands a kick to the stomach and leaves you feeling like you’re on the brink of spilling your guts to this day.

Some of it’s about discord; some of it’s about the relentlessly lurching rhythms, the stop/start churning bass and droning feedback and slabs of dissonance crashing out of the guitars, and some of it’s about the sheer abrasive force, meaning that as much as it’s in the realm of nascent Swans, it’s equally in the domain of Daughters and KEN Mode. ‘Mate, No-One Will Ever Love You’ sounds like it could be a title by The Streets or Sleaford Mods, or maybe some ‘witty’ middling indie band who think they’re incisive, so the fact it’s a blast of face-melting turbulence only makes it more audacious.

While it’s not exactly easy to make out the lyrics – by which I mean it’s pretty much impossible – the titles reveal the various themes that run through the album, and with ‘It’s Only a Problem if it’s a Problem for Me’ connotes the same kind of gregarious self-centred twattery as the abundant misuse of prefacing a statement with ‘mate’; you know the sort: cockends who call you mate are the last person you’d have as a mate, and they invariably think the world revolves around them.

‘Don’t Look For it, it’s Not There’ marks a shift towards a more post-rock style before lurching on a turn into thinking, lumbering sludge metal, while ‘Holy Shit’ is an appropriate response to the song of that title: it’s a messy morass of squalling free noise that’s not jazz, math, or experimental, but some kind of hybrid of all three, and it hurts. ‘Failure is Absolutely Possible’, however, is an entirely different proposition; mathy, proggy, post-metal, it beings the noise pinned to quiet/loud dynamics and some rather more technical drumming and for all its up-front, balls-out riff-driven thunder, there’s a lot of detail as well as a lot of noise. ‘Hurry, There’s No Time to Explain’ is urgent, powerful, hefty, and again it’s a collision of math and metal, and ultimately noise against noise with the force of a juggernaut racing down a mountain with the brakes cut. Closer ‘Brutish Giant’ is a full-on raging grunger which again invites favourable comparisons to Daughters’ last album, and leaves you drained, but uplifted.

With just 150 red vinyl copies, this is one of those releases that looks destined to be a future collectible, in addition to being a nice item. And, meanwhile, ‘10% all proceeds (+ Bandcamp’s 10% cut on the fee waiver days) donated to charity CALM – a leading movement against suicide, who are currently supporting more people than ever through this challenging time.’

There is comfort to be found in abrasion and noise, and Human Worth continue to put their proceeds where their sentiments lie, and we sincerely applaud their work, especially as there simply isn’t a duff release in their entire catalogue.

AA

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