Posts Tagged ‘energetic’

14th October 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Our last encounter with Brighton band Dog of Man was on the release of the single ‘Hello MI5’back in the spring. A frantic, frenetic genre clash, it proved to be quite an eye-opener.

And how, here we have the album, which they describe as ‘music to lose your shit to, a ritual of intense catharsis’, ‘delves into neuroses, madness and breakdown, delivered with punchy grooves, spidery guitar lines and gloriously distorted accordion.’

Wait, what? Accordion? This is not an instrument one tends to associate with any kind of heavy psych / weird indie / thrashy (post) punk hybrid, but then, Dog of Man do their own thing and make music their way.

The title is, thankfully, ironic. Instead of jaunty indie or breezy upbeat yacht rock Everything is Easy, the band promise an album that ‘delves into themes of neuroses, madness and breakdown – all set to punchy grooves, spidery guitar lines and fizzing accordion.’ Well, if it’s fizzing, maybe it is the instrument of choice.

Single cut ‘Turpentine’ blasts in with some ramshackle guitar that’s rushed and urgent, and as much as it’s indie with hints of The Wedding Present and early Ash, as well as contemporaries Asylums, and sets the manic pace for the album, which sees them skidding into the skewed shanty, ‘Accidentally Honest’. ‘Have you ever been accidentally honest?’ they ask. Well, have you?

With ‘No Click, No Edits’, this is properly rough and ready, raw and immediate, seemingly growing in pace and intensity as the album progresses. ‘Stroudits’ is both punky and theatrical with a dash of The Stranglers in the mix, before ‘Lurking in the Overnight Bag’ goes blues metal with a roustabout pirate slant, and reading that description back makes it sound absolutely shit, but it’s a work of twisted manic genius condensed into aa sub-two-minute adrenaline blast. Doorsy keyboards and nagging guitars reminiscent of Orange Juice are pulped together on ‘Headonastick’ before it shifts from being a driving racket that calls to mind Pulled Apart by Horses before veering off into a hoedown for the break. Are these guys nuts? It seems probable.

There’s just so much going on here; the chaotic cacophony of Gallon Drunk played with the swagger of Led Zeppelin and harpooned by the energy and knowingness of Electric Six are all packed together to tightly it’s impossible to really pick it apart or really fathom why it works, let alone has any kind of appeal. But perhaps the mystery is the appeal. When something is so crazy it shouldn’t work but does, it’s both because and in spite of it. And they make it sound so effortless.


Dog Of Man Artwork

8th June 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

I was an inch away from typing ‘we can all relate to this situation…’ when I realised that, no, that is absolutely not the case, and in fact, that’s fucking bollocks.

We have Conservative MPs saying that if we can’t make ends meet we need to work more hours of get better jobs, while other still suggesting that it’s possible to make meals for 30p per portion and the main reason people use foodbanks is because they can’t cook and can’t budget. It’s sickening and also maddening to see in such stark relief the chasm between the haves and the have-nots, and just how incapable those with money are of seeing things from the perspective of those without. When you’ve got a prime minister anguishing over the wage cost of a nanny and £840 a roll wallpaper (that’s a month’s wage for many people) when pensioners are spending the day on the bus because they can’t afford to heat their flat, it’s apparent just how fucked-up and how far the division has split in contemporary capitalist society.

So it’s a situation probably about half of us can relate to, when the band detail how their latest single is based on their own experience of “the doldrums of being skint, working your arse off to be able to afford a postage stamp-sized flat, only to have to shave in the kitchen sink because the landlord won’t fix the one in the bathroom. Take that and then put it in lockdown, it felt like the walls were closing in – very claustrophobic. You can’t escape to anywhere apart from your own daydreams. The song is an anthem of escapism in the modern era.”

Your head is really the only safe haven left, the only space where you can spread out, and where you can go without fear of being captured on CCTV surveillance – at least for now. It’s also the only place most of us can actually afford a holiday (I often wonder just how the fuck so many of my ten-year-old daughter’s classmates get to go off on skiing holidays and spend Easter in the Maldives when we have to scrape for three nights self-catering off-grid in Wales… like how do people have so much fucking money?).

What’s not fucking bollocks is this tune, which is absolutely top. Because ‘Holiday in my Head’ is about escapism, it’s not completely bleak – but it’s two and a half minutes of driving indie / post-punk, a collision of Asylums, early Editors, and Radio 4, with a strong serving of Gang of Four on the side. Hooks? Hell yeah, it’s got hooks to tear you apart, the choppy guitar duelling with the big, bold chorus that grabs you by the throat and blows your socks off – simultaneously.

Short, sharp and punchy, it’s an absolute blinder of a single, and quite an evolution from their previous outings. It may be more of an afternoon off and a quick pint in your local than a week on a beach in Greece, but then again, if the week in Greece involves being around other holidaymakers and temperature above 20C, I’d take what The Velvet Hands are offering every time.

The Velvet Hands - Artwork

Space & I Records – 21st January 2022

January is always a shitter. Whether you love Christmas or loathe it, or even if you’re largely indifferent, January is invariably a slump month of epic proportions. Those of us who aren’t mad keen on Christmas tend to cling to the light at the end of the tunnel that is new year, not because of the New Year celebrations, but because of the prospect of things getting back to normal, where everyone isn’t flapping about doing Christmas shopping and your mates aren’t in an endless conveyor-belt of work and other social commitments and might actually have time for just a pint and a chat, and because gigs and regular social activities resume and you can turn on the TV, radio or walk into a shop without hearing wall-to-wall fucking Christmas tunes.

But no, everyone’s skint, the ones who aren’t are doing dry January and not going out, and the days are short and cold and miserable and Christ, it’s bleak. And for the self-employed, the unsalaried, those in the arts, it’s even bleaker, especially during a pandemic. But then, as ‘Happy Birthday payday’ reminds us, staying afloat in the arts is hard at anytime.

It’s ironic that while mainstream chart musicians are lauded and the pop icon is considered aspirational, those who actually commit themselves to the graft of being in a proper band – or pursuing creative activities like writing or visual arts as a means of earning a living are relentlessly knocked back for being dreamers or unrealistic. Granted, it’s only very few who achieve the heights of Coldplay or Radiohead, or JK Rowling or Damien Hirst, but that isn’t to say that an equitable living shouldn’t be out of reach for the many in the lower echelons, and it simply shouldn’t be the case that tends of thousands of streams on Spotify or iTunes translates to less than the price of a pint.

Moses aren’t a band who are willing to compromise to turn that pint into a round: ‘Happy Birthday Payday’ is culled from their second album, Almost Everything Is Bullshit, which is not only a cracking title but a verifiable fact in this time of endless fakery, but one that’s unlikely to see it garner much mainstream radio play. Similarly, while ‘Happy Birthday Payday’ is a strong tune, bursting with energy and hooks, and with a nagging quasi-rockabilly guitar-line and some storming bass runs, it’s hardly zeitgeist. It’s cut from the punkier end of post-punk, and could have been part of the early 90s New Wave of New Wave ‘movement’ hyped by the press. It’s fast, furious, and spirited, and exactly the kind of tunage we need on offer beyond the mainstream – which is why outsider acts need to be viable, because without them, we’re fucked.