As so many within the media are contemplating even revealing their best of the year lists, some deciding even before December opens its eyes let alone before its last embers die out, we say hold the press and keep those contemplations in check as we suggest maybe the year’s finest moment is only just upon us. The Scaramanga Six have uncaged their tenth full-length and quite simply Worthless Music pretty much blows most contenders out of those Album of The Year waters.
For newcomers to the British band, imagine a mutant derived from the inimitable juices of The Cardiacs, 12 Stone Toddler, XTC, The Three Johns, and Wolver and you get a hint of The Scaramanga Six imagination and sound though we would suggest some of that list has more than been inspired by the Huddersfield quartet itself. Theirs is a sound though which is unique in all aspects and has always been so since their emergence with 1999 debut album The Liar, The Bitch And Her Wardrobe.It is easy to tag it as art rock but really it is a web and insanity of flavours spun with mischief and irreverence and embracing everything from punk and post punk to alternative/ art pop.
Worthless Music swiftly proves it is anything but what its title claims with opener Big Ideas. The track strides in with a confident swing and a belligerently rhythmic gait, its breath knowing and manipulative and in an instant the foursome of Paul Morricone, his brother Steven, Julia Arnez and Gareth Champion were in total control of attention and imagination. Interplanetary shenanigans and sinister intent colour the esurient character of the song, every rapacious rhythm and cunning twist escalating the infernal appetite of the song and its inescapable pull before the equally addictive and striking An Error Occurred uncages its punk infused ravening. As its predecessor, it is a hungry uproar of atypical dynamics and invention with contagion loaded virulence fuelling its unpredictability and insubordinate antics; both songs under the skin and seeing us dancing on their puppeteer strings in no time.
Decade With No Name stomps in on a surge of angular riffs and jab heavy rhythms, its clamour again devilishly infectious and robustly manipulative with vocals just as potent an orchestration on physical participation while Boy contrasts its predecessor’s rabid tempest with its restrained but volatile symphony of emotion and insecurity. The pair resonates in sound and implication, epitomising the album’s rousing drama and inventive originality though soon eclipsed by Horse With No Face. Noise rock sculpted, the track is an unbridled canter through thick sound upon a ravenous rhythmic shuffle, a delicious furore of abrasing sonic babble and inspiriting discord to lust over
So many hands within the album make a grab for favourite track honours, and another forcibly makes its claim as Dog Form stalks and ravages the senses next. Immediately building into a cyclone of sound, it settles into a beast of design and temptation. Feral best describes its manner and intent, a post punk dissonance accompanying its bestial moves and insatiable creative desire and in every aspect, trait and inclination the track proved superbly addictive soon exposing our instinctive subservience to such devilry.
The anomalous punk ‘n’ roll of Cults soon proved just as merciless in its tempting and deviant catchiness, each highly transmissible surge unleashed a glorious trespass while Death Mask of the Unknown Lady of the Seine shared a tale of sound and legend which revolved like a kaleidoscope of curiosity and imagination; an ever evolving off the wall reflection driven by esuriently nagging rhythmic compulsion. Like the muse herself, the track sparked a myriad of thoughts and pleasures which Former Selves with its more regular croon fed off to ignite further eager contemplation.
The following pair of Stranger In Your Own Mind and Ipso Facto added to the uncertainty of the album’s best track, the first erupting in an instant holler which springs an electronically steeped saunter as rapier like in its thrusts and bursts as it was seductive in its melodic siren calls. Its successor is simply glorious, a slice of the bizarre amid condemnation which creatively and emotionally becomes more bent out of shape. An electronic bossa nova hooked to alternative rock peculiarities, the track suggests the possibilities if Sparks thought they were Faith No More.
As Kate & Cindy strode in with its nostrils of energy flared while robustly swinging its creative limbs again ears were gripped and feasting on the subsequent ebbs of calms and flows of rapacious rock ‘n’ roll intensity that followed and soon just as greedily devouring the haunting majesty and shadows of the absurd wonder that is It Is The Face Wish How.
Each stretched and broadened the imagination and inventive landscape of Worthless Music with rabid fascination the reward, a final rich dose of that pleasure coming with album closing Then I Met Joanna and its dark romance and caliginous beauty.
So as we say, hold tight on those best of lists for we suggest that Worthless Music is more than worthy of consideration; The Scaramanga Six proving that they are gloriously like no other and a richer incitement than ever before.
Worthless Music is out now via Wrath Records; available @ https://thescaramangasix.bandcamp.com/album/worthless-music
Pete RingMaster 23/12/2021
Copyright RingMaster Review