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MICK MERCER - sept.2012

demo 2011 "afterparty sessions" reviewed by Mick Mercer

Say hello to Lagartija Nick, Jeff Sholley, Vokobahn and Federico Iovino as the new album is out. Admittedly, I haven’t heard it yet, but it’ll happen. Their wonderful eponymous debut was back in 2003, so possibly they have a decade thing going on (having already been thrilling as Land Of Passion during the early 90’s), but this is the first taster and even as potentially puny demos this features crackling, manic brilliance. ‘So’ cockily lolls on a perky pulse, with busy guitar scrying and doomy drums lolloping along for good measure and the overall effect is like a gang of female3 daleks wearing Miss Marple bonnets, raised on a diet of Killing Joke. The vocals are bucolic and angry, the rhythm stops and churns, and when they pause you know they’re going to lunge forward and pull themselves along on sparking stumps. Glorious. ‘Sweetmonsters’ is a slower, feverish jumble, the rhythm squashed into a thin grubby mattress beneath a thrashing vocal prisoner. The guitar has that willowy goth polish and if you wanted a modern mish-mash equivalent of Bauhaus and UK Decay battling it out on a distant space station well…here it is. ‘Perla Said’ does a scuffed shoe shuffle, doomy bass moving like vengeful moles below the rotating guitar and tense drums; taunting vocals heralding the ghost of Andi Sex Gang as he breaches the airlock. It falls apart gracefully at the end as all the musical juice dribbles slowly out, in a delightful manner. ‘Absolute Initiation’ is crunchiness set on cruise control, the same haughty pulse bolstering a twirling mixture of lightly surreal rhythmical swishness and stark vocal flourishes that winds up revealing a devilishly yobby rantiness which rounds off the pulsating brilliance fantastically well. Absorbing and diligently precocious! It is only with ‘Bonobos’ Afterparty’ that they take their hands off the wheel and suffer mental delusions after the crash, the track blithely bumbling on in a semi-hypnotic state, the vocals kept back with a harsher centrifugal fug. It still has a sense of attack but cyclical instead of linear, so the impact is lost as we go from manically propulsive, to self-destruct. Magnificent stuff, and we should all envy those with the album.

Mick Mercer