Welcome to this year’s most rigorously exciting and insatiably compelling release, Vafancuneo. Ok it is probably too early to truly give the title to Welington Irish Black Warrior, the creators of the extraordinary release but there are no doubts it will be in the top handful of nominees come judgement time. Brewing a unique sound most closely described as post punk meets psyche rock with a veining of noise and experimental industry, the Swiss band has sculpted a new template for emerging noise driven bands. Their EP is sensational, a riveting and breath-taking, almost tribal incendiary device for imagination and passions to explode over, and certainly one of the essential releases of 2014.
Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Brynjar Thorsson, bassist Léon Jodry, and drummer Steven Doutaz, the Neuchâtel based trio came together in 2005, three music loving men who supposedly came together as a band to stop working in a watch making factory. Since that entrance Welington Irish Black Warrior has been on an upward spiral, notably releasing a self-titled debut album in 2012, collaborating with Kunz on the five track KUNZWIBW of last year, and spending a whole year writing music based on Alejandro Jodorowsky’s movie Holy Mountain, which they performed live in a church in front of the screen during a projection of the 2 hours movie. With a flood of shows, European tours, and festival appearances only increasing their stock, time is ripe for the band to draw the strongest spotlight, something Vafancuneo is potent bait for.
Recorded live by Alberto Dutto (Movie Star Junkies), mixed by Mano Moccia, and mastered by Louis Jucker (Coilguns, Kunz, The Fawn), Vafancuneo is a virulent infestation of senses and mind from the opening minute of first track Hand on Stomach. The beginning to the song is a scattering of noises and splattering of rhythms but a mix brewing and merging into a united probing as it all comes into potent focus. A resonating throat calls out from the bass as the rhythms of Doutaz roam with a rampant appetite, both prowling and seducing the senses as distorted flames of guitar wind their riveting toxicity around thoughts. It is a thrilling provocation even before the joining expressive almost psychotic vocals tones of Thorsson complete the scintillating package, every aspect of the song a stark yet endearing poison writhing under the skin and into the passions.
The post punk conspiracy of the track is just as intensive in the following Jahzz, reinforcing thoughts of Wire and early Gang of Four hinted at for varying reasons in its predecessor. Jodry’s bass lies down the first delicious lure, its hypnotic suasion a predacious instigator to striding rhythms and sonic scythes of guitar. To those previously mentioned references you can also add Kabul Golf Club and unavoidably Joy Division as the track courts imagination and ears with its unpredictable and unrelenting web of sound and invention. There is also a sinister air to its aural narrative, a noir kissed ambience which colours the intriguing canvas and persistent single minded gait of song and hook.
It is already an irresistible encounter by this point but the album opens an even richer vat of temptation and tempting with Lac Orbu. The initial clutch of short grooves is once again an instant capture of a raging appetite for the EP before the track stirs up an agitated blanket of rhythms with stabbing guitar as the bass groans hungrily by their side. Vocals bring their distinct enticement to the psychotic dance next; a canter pungent with a contagion of repetition and rhythmic disorientation. Thoughts of The Fire Engines add to the suggestive spicery of the romp before everything is smothering in a sonic squall. Lines are blurred and air infused with raw ambience as the song moves towards its departure, the band again leaving assumptions as pointless as warm melodies trying to encroach into the creeping soundscape.
A pulsating distortion of sonic psyching draws the next up Fascination into view, its strobing soon matched by whipping rhythms and the anthemic vocals. The bass brings a stable shadow to the light show, its premeditated drawl holding the scattered bait for one massive and intrusive seducing. The jagged breath of the track scars the senses beautifully, seizing their allegiance automatically as the acidic flight of guitar winds enticingly almost wantonly around the imagination and emotions. A strong whisper of The Gaa Gaas also permeates the scaring of sonics and rhythms but as throughout thoughts of Wire come the closest to describing a little of the brilliant brew the band conjures.
A schizophrenic character grins from within Bankal 10/15; a fruity discordant twang casting its spell over the guitars as the bass again adds the more even gaited poise to the cacophonous exploits littering ears with scarring beauty. The breaking swagger and addictive swerve of guitar and song simply ignite another wave of lustful ardour in mind and heart, inspiring the return of feelings and bewildered yet hungry thoughts arguably not felt since the late seventies when many of the comparisons mentioned reigned. There is a definite nostalgic feel to the release but only as rich hue to something unique and of the corrosive now.
Vafancuneo closes with the just as tremendous Samba Suicide, a hive of waspish sonics making the first play for the passions before an infectious grinding of riffs and sharp hooks pounce with a pop intent. Probably the most accessible song on the EP, certainly the most danceable, the track evolves into a disorderly, unsynchronised adrenaline fuelled waltz, an atonal stomp which exhausts and exhilarates with equal success. It is a dynamic and masterful finale to a quite brilliant encounter. Welington Irish Black Warrior takes noise and discord and weaves them into the most insatiably gripping and antagonistically seducing pleasure possible. Their songs are genius and wickedly captivating, and once they worm under the surface impossible to shake off.
Vafancuneo is available now @ http://hummusrecords.bandcamp.com
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