Like the fall out and indeed initial impact of the detonation of a nuclear device, the sound of US noise mongers Fashion Week is a ravenous inescapable scourge feasting on flesh and senses. Debut album Prêt-à-Porter was savagely enjoyable proof of the fact, its release on Solar Flare Records a testing and thrilling examination of body and emotions. Now two years after its scorching eruption, the band has released So Last Season. A coming together of rare and unreleased material, including Fashion Week’s first demo, two EPs, live tracks and a couple of covers, the album oversees the birth of the band and its growth in sound right up to that first inimitable album.
Founded in 2009 by vocalist/guitarist Joshua Lozano (Inswarm, Jarboe, Cobalt, Family, Shai Hulud, Vampillia), NYC hailing Fashion Week quickly drew eager attention with their diverse, melody tinged swarms of noise. Taking inspiration from the diverse likes of Unsane, Coalesce, and Botch through to Nirvana, Dinosaur Jr, Melvins, and Quicksand with plenty more embraced under their creative wing, Fashion Week soon sculpted their own distinctive dirty sound as evidenced by first EP, Applicator in 2011 and its successor Coextinction #11 two years after. Prêt-à-Porter was the wake-up call to broad attention which the striking re-emergence of earlier and rare material courtesy of So Last Season can now only reinforce.
The album opens with the three tracks which made up Coextinction #11, songs the band were invited to record for the internet label of Unsane’s Dave Curran, Coextinction Recordings. The raw, at times almost carnal assault of Heroin Chic is first. As nagging citric guitars and a gloriously grumbling bass instantly descend, an underlying melodic lure simmers and brews, subsequently taking its central spot in the grungy smog of sound. Warm vocals spring from within the addictive assault, welcoming yet as edgy as the intimidatingly voracious sounds around them.
Andrew Cunanan follows, its rural harmonica shared comeliness soon a tempest of hungry rhythms and greedy riffs with that snarling bass again addictive bait alongside the furnace of voice and guitar. As its predecessor though, melody and restraint get involved, hand in hand prowling the senses as the former laces seductively wiry grooves. The track is pure magnetism, a trait matched in strength by God Save McQueen. Its hardcore rapacity smothers ears before twisting them with a web of flavours all bleeding aural and emotional tartness.
The brief rabid attacks of both Fab and Smyze follow; two live cuts which infest body and psyche with their caustic holler and predatory sonic trespass with the second a beast of a proposal stalking the listener with its sludge bred intent. Their debilitating prowess is followed by a cover of the Helmet track, I Know. A calmer affair with harmonies instantly slipping their invitation into the more fractious draw of guitars and bass, the song flirtatiously twists and swings like a primal seductress, never moving out of second gear but only increasing its siren-esque appeal with each enterprising second.
The next three tracks come from un-released EP Little Black Dress which seemed to have been pushed aside as the band worked on Prèt-â-Porter. Lydian Hearst dances with discontent and melancholic charm first, melodies a sombre enticement and rhythms a truculent incitement though they too develop a vibrant if filth lined swing led by the ever gnarly bass. With Lozano’s vocals a plaintively bracing squall, a squall in time joined by a tamer presence, the track boils in touch and temptation before So Last Season unveils its abrasive grunge clad pop ‘n’ roll on the table. The song is a spiral of contrasts, like a maelstrom of Converge, Sofy Major, and Melvins, and as imposingly catchy as it is greedily corrosive.
The following Little Black Dress, featuring guest vocals from Dave Castillo, Kurt Applegate, and Tom Tierney, equally has infectiousness coursing irritable rock ‘n’ roll seeing bodies bouncing as the senses shrivel under vocal causticity and increasing sonic hostility, only to be re-animated by the spicy grooves entangling song and listener.
It would have been a crime if the EP had never seen the light of day, one of many major reasons to grab the album, a felony repeated if Rich Hallister, a song originally recorded for Prêt-à-Porter which the band eventually did not feel fitted, was not heard. It too is ferocity of noise and attitude with a virulent catchiness which enslaves ears and hips, rogue beats alone a busy temptation as vocals increasingly lose their grip on composure being matched by the growing bedlam of guitar.
With Vinny Signorelli of Unsane guesting on drums, Fashion Week takes on his band’s track Only Pain next. A potent mix of sample and keys draw the listener into the waiting doomscape of sound and emotion, Lozano searing it with his raw throated delivery backed by the equally apocalyptic and melancholic roar and melodic suggestion of guitars. It is a compelling take on a great track arguably giving an even grittier and rawer aspect to its emotionally decayed antipathy.
The digital version of So Last Season is completed by the re-mastered version of the band’s original demo, Applicator, which also comes as an additional 7” with a vinyl edition of the album. Beginning with the rusty hues of Fierce, the four tracks making up the release are the heart and seeds of Fashion Weeks’ current sound, the source of uncompromising intent and endeavour making up the impressive stature of Prêt-à-Porter. The track is undiluted sonic threat and emotional turmoil, a vat of creative rancor matched by that festering within the equally corrosive and catchy Heidi Klum and the hook wired Bryant Park, the second a web of guitar woven tempting and intrigue wonderfully sullied by Lozano’s flesh grazing vocal deliver and increasingly ruinous vitriol.
Completed by the hardcore scourge of Fabulous, the track pure venom in noise and presence, So Last Season is a must for newcomers to the band, for those who missed out on their earlier assaults and noise rock victims as a whole.
So Last Season is available now @ https://www.fashionweek.bandcamp.com/album/so-last-season
Pete RingMaster 29/03/2017
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright