Though knowing the name and reputation earned through their earlier releases, we had yet to get to grips with a We’ll Go Machete encounter. So it is with thanks to the band’s vocalist/guitarist Paul Warner, who introduced band and new album Smile Club to us just recently. All that can be said is boy have we been missing out, as the band’s second album is a glorious tempest of sound, striking imagination, and creative intensity. Smile Club simply infests ears and psyche with a hex of noise rock, post punk, and math rock plus any other caustic spicing you can think of, and certainly left us not hungry but desperate for more.
With a line-up completed by bassist Chris May and drummer Rachel Fuhrer, the Austin hailing We’ll Go Machete first sparked interest with their 2009 self-titled EP though it was debut album Strong Drunk Hands two years later which was the catalyst to richer attention and acclaim. Live too the band has garnered a healthy name and stature, shows alongside the likes of Future of the Left, Melvins, Hammerhead, and Fatal Flying Guillotines, as well as their own headlining events over time marking We’ll Go Machete out as one of the more exciting emerging propositions. Late to the party, as said Smile Club is our first real taster of the band and fair to say the, as its predecessors, Cedar Fever Records released album just whipped up a frenzy in sound and lustful reactions.
Absence is the first welcome stirring of the senses, tangy grooves and thumping beats enriching an instant sonic swamp of noise swiftly loaded up further with the distinctive, angst hued tones of Warner. It is a striking and invigorating mix which has body and thoughts fully involved from the first trespass. Like something springing from a blend of Melvins, Quicksand, and Sofy Major, the track continues to growl and flex its confrontational muscles yet breeds an inescapable contagion. Adventure is already bold in the album, the song for example slipping through mellower evocative scenery across its potently unpredictable landscape for a mighty start to the inventive emprise of Smile Club.
The following and as outstanding Drawstring is just as quickly captivating, its entrance of tenaciously prowling rhythms and rapaciously alluring riffs gripping attention and appetite immediately. Spicy grooves and sharp hooks only add to the emerging theatre of sound and melodic drama with the again pungent voice of Warner only seeming to inflame the sounds around him into greater enthusiasm of craft and energy. Like a web, the track has fresh inescapable treats at every turn, the rhythms of May and Fuhrer cage like in their union around the acidic tapestry cast by the guitar.
A post punk tone and imagination comes with The Bardo though it is soon overwhelmed by a noise rock tsunami of emotional intensity veined by creeping sonic tendrils of guitar. The song does not have the same immediate impact as the pair before, but blossoms into a bordering on sinister persuasion of clanging dissonant chords amidst suggestive and volatile textures to only enslave over time.
Strasberg Air is a far swifter raw seducing with again hooks and rhythmic tenacity key bait in the evolving ingenuity of sound. Like a more restrained Fat Dukes of Fuck and mellower Shevils, the track bounces off the walls of ears and senses with Fuhrer alone creating an inescapable trap with his addictively imaginative beats. Carrying a grungier colour to vocals and melodies, the song leaves a lingering thrill before making way for the melancholic tempest of Scratch Built. The early solemn come doomy premise and air is eventually set ablaze by the corruptive quickstep of toxic riffs and earthy basslines splintered by viciously swung beats. With its own emotional ecoclimate, the track shifts from heavily dark through torrentially volatile to infectiously energetic before heading back into imposing shadows in a final exhilarating outburst.
The major pinnacle of the album is Positive People which comes next. It is another delving into post punk terrain, an eighties genre spicing lining choppy riffs and a wonderfully brooding bass tempting from May. Elements remind of bands such as Artery and The Fire Engines, whilst the cold air certainly has a Joy Division-esque feel to it, but again We’ll Go Machete only sculpt a startling and addictive exploration of their very own. Discord is always a friend of the musician and here perfectly woven into the torment soaked anatomy of one glorious incitement, its majesty continuing into Break the Kettles which evolves out of its predecessor’s tail wind. A slower corrosively elegant proposal, the track binds ears and imagination with sonic lacing whilst simultaneously sending splinters of guitar invention and rhythmic animosity into its angst thick drama.
Both Shot Giant and Cigarettes and Face Masks keep the compelling power and industry of Smile Club ablaze, the first an intensive shuffle pressuring ears with spiteful beat spilling agitation and ravaging riffery but unafraid to slip into something more melodically provocative and hauntingly intimidating. Its successor brews its own ridiculously addictive and threatening maze of fierce imagination and bitchy rhythms infested with swarms of toxic grooves and citric melodic endeavour. Each only ignites greedier pleasure but the second is especially virulently disorientating and thrilling.
The album is brought to an end by firstly the warped harmonious beauty of Molten Tiny Cell, a song nagging in sound and repetitious mastery until satisfaction is drooling and lastly Dust Storms May Exist. The final song is just superb, a hellacious storm of flavour and imagination which at times has a spicing reminiscent of KEN mode, in others moments a raw tone and feel which is similar to In Love Your Mother, and continually leads the listener on a spiral of exhaustive and perpetually resonating adventure in craft, energy, and again relentlessly twisting swirls of rabid sound and invention.
There is plenty more to say in praise of Smile Club but bottom-line is we simply adore it and feverishly recommend it to all fans of noise, psych, punk…well any lover of fierce rock ‘n’ roll.
Smile Club is available now via Cedar Fever Records.
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