May 28th sees the return of an irresistible friend and the reason for a new bout of infatuated stalking. Let us elaborate. That date is when the simply stunning new split EP from UK bands Houdini and Frau Pouch is unleashed upon the world and it is destined to leave ears and hearts blistered and awash in salacious wanting. Houdini is a trio which are no strangers to RR and a band who without fail always ignites the hottest fires with their scuzz punk creations. Frau Pouch though are completely new in name and sound here and easily the sexiest and most essential conjurors of sadistic dirty post punk scratchings heard in a very long time, and the instigators of energies and wicked desires that we never knew existed.
To say the EP is impressive is an understatement, alone the duo of songs from each band would bring excitement and heaps of enthused attention but together it creates a release which shows the deep quality within UK indie music if you go beneath the artificial surface.
Houdini set a flurry of ears and emotions blazing with their brilliant second single Smokers Cough though their first release What A Fire, and its more singular punk sound was not exactly slow in announcing the promise of the band. Smokers Cough was stunning, an instant contagious pull into their inventive and addictive garage punk scuzz rock sound which still has the same magnetic power two years on. The following Deadlines EP only confirmed the acclaim their debut release deservedly earned but with the two songs on the new EP the band has brewed all their invention and ability into a blitz of garage/punk rock triumph. Don’t Look Down leaps upon the ear with vindictive riffs and intimidating rhythms, guitarist Greg Webster, drummer Tom Bonner, and bassist Giles Barrett all taunting with energy and intent whilst crafty melodies wind themselves around the senses from underneath the powerful and muscular attack. Once more the band find a chorus and line of hooks as infectious as any germ to make a mockery of what most pop punk bands come up with.
The siren pull of that song is replaced with a bristling cloud of electrified scuzz in Your Dog Is Not A Horse. With a meaner heart and darker intensity the song mugs the senses with heavy riffs and smog like energy to outstanding effect. Imagine Reuben, The Fall and first generation Faith No More and you get an idea, it is immense.
Frau Pouch is a different beast entirely though from the same overall stable as their partners in crime. Another trio in the irrepressible shape of Joe Wise (guitar/vocals), James Thompson (bass), and Suzanne Freeman (drums), the band incite all the wrong feelings and mischievous intent, and it is wonderful. The best way to describe them is as the bastard evil offspring from an illicit intrusion between The Fall and The Victorian English Gentlemens Club with some fingering from The Cramps and Turbogeist. The band thump and bruise the senses with highly charged melodies and belligerent riffs all soaked in vintage discord and infected defilement, the result pure magic. Their first song Sexy Architecture quizzes and attacks synapses with unbridled choppy serpentine riffs and insane melodic scrapings lighting them up like fireworks whilst the vocals come over like an over exited Mark E Smith as they tease and twist the words through the ear.
Second track Sexy Mittens is even better as the band add some psyche punk to the mixture. The song prowls and sways with hypnotic posture, its energy a wanton violation upon the ear with tempestuous acidic ingenuity. Still reminding of the previously mentioned bands you can add some mesmeric noise tease from the likes of The Gaa Gaas and Engerica to the frenetic bedlam of discord. With both songs barely seeing two minutes in their binoculars it offers up the only gripe as one could listen to this for hours and not find a lull in the pleasure.
If there is only two bands you check out over the weeks ahead make it these two. Houdini and Frau Pouch have combined for one of the most stirring and invigorating, not to mention brilliant releases so far this year and most likely for the months and months ahead