Sunday, 5 February 2012

'Fabriclive 61’ (Mix CD, Fabric)

On this timely contribution to the prestigious mix series, Pinch reclaims dubstep as a flexible, subtle genre against the head-banging aggression that has come to define it for many. His own productions set the boundaries wide, from the ominous vibrations of his Henry & Louis remix to the slitheringly percussive 'Rooms Within A Room’ from the extraordinary Pinch & Shackleton album. Elsewhere, he does lush and mellow with Quest (‘In Dreams’), minimal and deadly with Loefah (‘Broken’) and 140bpm techstep with Photek (‘Acid Reign’). There’s also room for Berlin techno (EQD), experimental electronica (Roly Porter) and floor-wrecking cuts from Roska, Distance and Addison Groove. This is a tough, intelligent selection from a DJ at the top of his game.

BRS rating 9/10
This review originally appeared in Venue magazine.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

The Hysterical Injury - 'Dead Wolf Situation' (Album - Crystal Fuzz Records)


















A few years ago, in the wake of Lightning Bolt's irrepressible onslaught, there was a wave of bass/drums duos who seemed to have missed the point. Super-fast drumming and thickening agent fuzz can trick the ears while the beer and volume are flowing. Take them home, and you're stuck with half a band.

On their debut album The Hysterical Injury do not sound like half a band. Annie Gardiner's bass fills the space of two or three less spirited instruments - its controlled abandon recalling Nick Zinner's driving-yet-expansive guitar on the early Yeah Yeah Yeahs records. Drummer Tom destroys skins with a similar combination of precision and fury - anyone would think they were related.

None of the that will surprise people who've enjoyed the band live, but the growing strength of their songwriting might. Rooted in classic-era alternative rock (Sonic Youth, early Hole, a generous slug of Throwing Muses), one thing that sets The Hysterical Injury apart from their peers is their embrace of melody. On 'Vex', Annie harmonises with herself like a scrambled disco diva casually inventing glam hardcore. On 'Maths', jerky indie verses give way to swooning choruses riding waves of noise. And then there's the monumental 'Cycle One', in which a sustained crackle of electricity sets the scene for a complex of conflicting emotions and delirious pop-grunge hooks. This morning I had to listen to it seven times in a row.

British rock has been comatose for years, and The Hysterical Injury are one of the few bands around that sound capable of waking it. If there’s any justice, they could well be making records on a bigger budget in a few years' time. They won't necessarily be better than 'Dead Wolf Situation', though - or at least they won't need to be.

The Hysterical Injury launch 'Dead Wolf Situation' at The Green Park Tavern, Bath on Saturday 11th February.

More info here