The last time we heard from That Massive Bereavement it was with their raw and dirty Eat The Rich EP, a release which grated upon and pleasured ears in equal fashion. It was caustic and uncompromising but suggested a healthy future for the UK band which has been more than reinforced by its successor, the outstanding Sugar for the Masses. The new seven track release finds the band strapping on a maturity and creative mischief which was merely hinted at on the previous encounter. It is a brawling proposition which again fuses grunge, punk rock, garage rock and plenty of other filthy essences, but the band and release has become a whole new proposition now. The EP not only realises their early promise but has nurtured it into a thoroughly captivating and incendiary riot of thankfully still unpolished but feverishly riveting rock ‘n’ roll.
Hailing from the Medway, That Massive Bereavement draw on inspirations which include the likes of The Fall, Therapy?, The Replacements, Wire, The Pixies, Sonic Youth, Pavement, Swell Maps, and Joy Division. Plenty of those are often open spices in songs but only as colouring to their striking abrasive sound and enterprise. Eat The Rich was a release which you could see rubbing as many people up the wrong way as it recruited ardour clad fans such its uncompromising and in comparison to Sugar for the Masses, naïve presence. Sugar for the Masses though is an incitement you can only see recruiting eager attention and hunger for the band, the quartet of vocalist/guitarist Aidan Hehir, lead guitarist James Feist, bassist Peter Bevan, and Colin Antilife Jervis on drums breeding all the qualities of their debut into a broader contagious and skilfully delivered bait.
The release sets off after the passions with Colin Farmer (Will Have His Revenge On Lancashire), a grisly bass riff bringing the opener instant attention. Its lure is soon added to by a feisty rhythmic provocation and a sonic wash of acidic enticement. The track already has senses and appetite in its fiery hands, its emerging rapacious stroll antagonistic rock ‘n’ roll with a flush of The Stooges, Rocket from the Crypt, and even a touch of Lemmy. Hooks litter the thrilling confrontation as well as jagged riffs and lust searching grooves, it all combining for an insatiable tempest of attitude with persistent spills of sonic secretions and punk irreverence.
The outstanding start is followed by the brief endeavour of Jellied Eels. A track which reminds straight away of the seventies and bands like Swell Maps and Television Personalities, it strides with a big grin on its chords and rhythms whilst the lyrical tempting is loose in its seriousness but just as magnetic as the roar of an explosive intensity and aggression which also spears the excellent slice of revelry.
The imposingly impressive start to the EP is kept up with Bullet, its body a stalking prowl of caustic submission and seemingly defeatist passion. It is only a suggestive shade to a track which is unrelentingly defiant in sound and confrontational in its aggressive provocation. Guitars spill venom and rhythms swing unchecked punches to explode in the ears, but it is the raw reflection of the vocals and a sonic enterprise which sears the senses that loads the song with a vibrancy its premise defies. It is a compelling slab of incitement which is weighty in sound and presence and a total contrast to the punk devilment of Rupert Murdoch’s Death Wank. The track strides with adrenaline fuelled ferocious riffs and stabbing rhythms led by the individually brawling tones of Aiden, but interrupts that charge with staccato sculpted breaks in its gait and sonically swirling guitar imagination. It is two minutes of garage punk addictiveness to lay further enthused emotions upon.
Nine Toed Woman again has a broad smile and lustful appetite given in return for its hook laden punk temptation and lyrical ‘insight’. Thoughts of early Damned and The Adicts spring to mind but again it is a song with a presence which carries familiar traits without definition ensuring it is a fresh and ridiculously infectious slavery for ears and passions. There is no doubting that That Massive Bereavement has also honed their ability to sculpt hooks and lures which instinctively find a home in the listener and probably on Sugar For The Masses in no more potent way than right here, though the following title track might differ. One minute of sheer hostile punk rock with another hook which lends to addictive behaviour whilst merely two lines lyrically help cast an irresistible anthemic bait, the track is punk/roll in raw and gripping form.
The release closes with the post punk brilliance of Desolate, a track unmistakeably bred from a Joy Division influence but bound in a rich melodic ribboning which seduces the imagination. It is merely one aspect of the almost seven minute treat though as within its repetitive minimalistic coaxing it explodes with the rawest grunge infused explosions of sound. Coldly and hauntingly seductive in one breath and bordering on corrosive in another, the track is a fascinating and enthralling proposition which makes powerful suggestions about the direction the band is heading.
High hopes for Sugar for the Masses were left looking lightweight by the end of its incitement of ears, the release nothing but evidence showing That Massive Bereavement has grown from a promising band into a dramatically impressive protagonist with still plenty of potential to be realised you feel.
Sugar For The Masses is available now @ http://thatmassive-bereavement.bandcamp.com/album/sugar-for-the-masses
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