There has been a good buzz about Seculo Seculorum, the second album from UK punksters Obsessive Compulsive, since its release a couple of months ago but now having allowed its thrilling exploits to tease and excite our senses the record far outweighs the plenty of good responses draped upon it so far. It is an outstanding release, a collection of songs that stand toe to toe with the ears intimidating and coaxing them and all beyond into its riotous and provocative charge. Rife with feisty riffs, probing rhythms, and more hooks than to be found in an angling store, as well as the excellent spitefully seductive tones of vocalist Kelii, the album is an irrepressible temptation declaring the rock and punk fused presence of the band as one of the most exciting in the UK.
The Manchester quartet first drew attention with a couple of EPs but fired up a stronger awareness with debut album Dreams of Death and the Death of Dreams in 2010. Released on their own Vociferous Records and produced by Russ Russell (The Wildhearts/Evile/Napalm Death), the album triggered strong and eager responses as well as a wealth of underground media acclaim. Renowned for their live performances, which has seen the band share stages with the likes of Goldblade, GBH, Anthrax, The Damned Things, KMFDM, Wolfsbane, and The Japanese Voyeurs as well as igniting festivals such as Bloodstock, Hard Rock Hell, and Download Festival, Obsessive Compulsive are now poised to raise their stature to a much loftier level with the James Loughrey (Skindred/Bjork/Page & Plant) recorded Seculo Seculorum (meaning ‘forever and ever’).
As immediately evident on the album, Obsessive Compulsive reaps the finest essences of punk, alternative rock, and a multi-flavoured rock rawness which combines to create a confrontation which leaves you breathless and gripped by a hunger for more. Imagine The Distillers and The Duel tied down and milked for their antagonistic charms whilst Karn8 stands astride adding their wantonness and you get a sniff of what the album offers. There is also a melodic fire and bite which harkens back to the late seventies with both The Photos and Penetration coming to mind at times. The moment opener Sick Sick Sick bursts into a blaze of hypnotic riffs laced with a contagious groove and commanding rhythms, there is a cage around the passions sparking them into life especially as Kelii brawls into the ear with sexy intimidation. There is a sense of US rockers Mongrel about the song too when it flares up in pissed off crescendos around its virulent infectious call. It is a scintillating start that lingers around for a long time inside though it is soon matched by the brilliant Regurgitate.
The second song on the album initiates the strongest lure just by the instant firm stroking of guitar and vocals, the combination a temptation which seems to know there is no escaping its toxicity. Into its stride once again the suasion is immense and impossible to resist, the roguish roam of the riffs framed by crisp beats seemingly seeded in old school punk rock whilst Kelii provides a Pauline Murray like snarl and melodic craft to her delivery. It is another instant pinnacle which alongside its predecessor puts the rest of the album under pressure.
Both the inventively unpredictable Stamp Your Own Path and the smouldering Jardim Gramacho put up massively satisfying efforts to grip the same heights whilst Nail In My Coffin stands shoulder to shoulder with the openers with its scything riffs and barracking rhythms egged on by the continuing to impress vocals. The track engages full thrusters in the energetic chorus to rampage as melodic flames hang on to its wind, though they are later allowed to settle and bewitch the listener with skilled and inventive narratives either side of the storm. The track again shows the variety in sound and imagination already on the album, the diversity brought with invention and an array of ingenious barbs which are never too much or allowed to get too complicated.
Float idles up next with bass and deep toned guitar edging the sultry tones of Kelii as the track unveils a slightly chilling and menacing beauty to its expansive breath, keys bringing an enveloping atmosphere which almost haunts the ear whilst shards of hot guitar coals light the skies. Drawing up its sinews and malevolent passion the song builds into a rapacious fire before settling down again into the initial smoulder. It is another slice of brilliance helping to propel the album into classic areas, the evidence of that status cemented further by the twin glories of Soul Sucker and Things Clean And Unclean, the first very much a Karn8 type inducement with elements of Hole and Hitchcock Blonde to it and its successor a gritty slice of dirty punk with L7 whispers to its stunning suasion, the steely bass bait a greedy temptress. It should be noted though for all the references mentioned the Obsessive Compulsive sound is still as distinct as you would hope.
After the metallically honed triumph Fight Or Flight the album unleashes its finest moment in the punk fury of No Logo. The track is pure venom and belligerence, a blistering X-Ray Spex like piece of contentious savagery which squalls and scowls with no mercy shown or considered. It is a bruising fight which accentuates the beauty of closing song Swallow The Sound all the more, the song a compelling rock ballad with a melodic heat that frames the vocals perfectly.
Obsessive Compulsive is a band which leaves only the richest appetite and urgency for their creativity in play, and Seculo Seculorum an album which seriously threatens the best UK rock album claims for the year. A must listen release.
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