Before my time as math-rock star/teacher of the Queen’s own in deepest South Korea I spent my days as a math-rock protostar/giver of alcohol in the city of Derby. “WHERE THE FUCK IS THAT?” I hear you shout at your screens and at people around you, to much confusion and coffee spillage. Derby is a small city in middle earth…I mean, the middle of England that has been producing many fantastic bands for many years now. Crash Of Rhinos (and their pre-lives in Little Explorer and The Jesus Years) will be well known to most in our circles, the terribly-named-but-they-never-cared You Slut! (RIP), Haiku Salut and My Psychoanalyst, neither of whom are mathy but feckin’ brilliant nonetheless. Basically we did alright for city our size…
Alright The Captain, also from ‘Derbados’, have been around for a long while, what started as a jam project has turned into one of most ferocious and brutally groovesome bands around. Seemingly forever on tour the band are meant to be experienced in a live setting where their controlled cacophony of dark sounds and smartly structured jumps enraptures you in a hip-snapping, head-bobbing frenzy and goddamn if it isn’t about-bloody-time that they release an album worthy of their live shows. Contact Fix is just that, though they have claimed in the past that their songs are chucked together structure-wise this album shows maturity in writing that emphasizes smoother transitions and leaves more room for wonderful melody that was perhaps a little too ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ on previous records. The production is also fantastic, big and bold without losing any hidden depths…I’m on my third listen now, mainly due to the fact I keep having to stop writing this review, close my eyes and take in how beautiful every note and drum hit sounds. For the record (hur hur), this album was recorded at Snug Studios in Derby, ran by Robin Newman and Rich Collins (the latter being of Y’Slut fame) and everything that they deliver sounds glorious.
One of the elements that sets this record apart from previous releases is the use of synths and samples wonderfully woven together with the ‘live’ instrumentation. In the past ATC have definitely tried to add an electronic feel to their music, in similar way to how Three Trapped Tigers or Adebisi Shank do/did, but now with the addition of keys and, I imagine, a few new fun pedals this side of the band is finally being expressed to its fullest. Exhibit A of this is found straight away in opener ‘Toaster Mouse’, which starts off like a neon city landscape of pretty/dirty synths that brings to mind past visions of dystopian futures before kicking into trademark brutal overdrive.
They hardly let up from there…Whether you are new or old in knowledge of this band I heartily implore you to give this album a full listen, not a snippet, not a track on some streaming site or just in the background…but the entire feckin’ thing. And loud.
Math Rock, Jazz, Robot Dystopia, Dancetopia, Brutal, Brutiful, Beautiful
Sounds A Tad Like
Three Trapped Tigers, Alpha Male Tea Party, Gary Numan