Our working week began and ended with songs sung by the same man but different bands. Monday’s listening focussed on the broody, snarling Another Day at the Zoo by Lumer and Friday’s was centred around The spy who came in from the cold, the second single by Document. Alex Evans performs vocal duties for both bands, and long may that situation continue if he can balance commitments as the outputs are excellent. Another Day at the Zoo exudes attitude, anger and contempt for politicians and the state of the nation, and The Spy who came in from the cold’ is a sprawling beast that recalls Bauhaus in their 'In the Flat Field' days, minus the goth schtick. Post punk never felt so alive.
Continuing with post punk, the new singles by Fiende Fatale and Lice are well worth checking out. Fiend Fatale’s Bang! is manic, relentless stuff, and from the looks of the brief clip of gig footage that I saw this week, the band look good live. Lice's Conveyor is not as frantic, but equally as impressive, it reminds me of ‘Wise Up Sucker’ by Pop Will Eat Itself with a little bit more sass. I’d never heard of either band until this week, but they’re firmly on our radar now.
Moving on to swamp rock, The Novus have released a sterling new track this week called Frosty. Driven along by a tasty riff, Frosty is a fine rock tune from this band from Stourbridge. Their 2019 single PMF is good too.
Staying with rock, we reviewed the new album by Slift here. Ummon came out on Friday and it is an absolute beast, taking in heavy rock, prog rock, space rock, psych rock and even a bit of krautrock. You can listen to it in full via the link here.
The wonderful world of Krautrock (albeit in completely different form to Slift) also features heavily on ii, the debut album by Och, out last week on Rocket Recordings. I wasn't sure what to make of the band from the two singles released in the run up to the album release, but they make absolute sense here. If you like your music on the trippy, spaced out side then this is a great go-to album.
Off-kilter synth, repetition, experimental noises, drones and feedback give you a little flavour of what’s in store, and if that’s enough to whet your appetite, dive straight in as this is exceptional stuff. The eight instrumental pieces are quite filmic, as though the album could be a soundtrack to an obscure 70s sci fi movie, or possibly one featuring David Bowie from that era…
The album kicks off with the sound of a train setting off, before a wave of feedback kicks in, underpinned by krautrock, leading to a noisy crescendo and then calm. And that’s just track one! Across the album the music veers from menace to calm in a heartbeat, and in places (such as on album closer Pandemi pa Handelo) disorientation. Those familiar with Och’s label mates The Utopia Strong should be very comfortable with the music on offer here. This is the sort of album made for zoning out to, and everyone should zone out every now and then.
French indie pop outfit Juniore also released a new album last week called Un, Deux Trois. You may have heard the spritely Ah Bah D'Accord which was released as a single last year and featured heavily on the 6 Music playlist, although the album itself is quite a chilled affair. In amongst quirkier tracks like Bizarre there are many laid back, effortlessly cool songs and it’s a very pleasant listen overall. Think of Brigit Bardot, Jean Jacques Perrey, Air and (ahem) Eurotrash and you’ll get the picture.
Staying with indie pop and concluding this week’s round up is the debut single by Forever Honey Christian. It’s taken from their debut EP ‘Pre-Mortem High’ which will be released in April. The band are from New York, and formed over a common love of jangly, guitar driven late 80’s pop and harmony saturated rock of the 60s. Christian is very 80’s, like a cross between Martha and the Muffins ‘Echo Beach’, Tears for Fears ‘Mad World’, Talk Talk’s ‘Talk Talk’ and the Cure’s ‘A Forest’.