We have it on good authority that there is a very healthy and thriving garage rock scene in Rennes; the city already the hottest place in France right now for the genre’s raw rock ‘n’ roll. If Chinese Songs For Bad Boys is anything to go by, we can only take such claims as a potent and truthful description of things there right now. The new album from Combomatix, it is an exhilarating and galvanic ten track roar of rousing incitement which is deliciously raw, at times primal, and persistently a volcanic consumption of the senses. It leaves exhaustion and ripe pleasure in its wake with a body littered with inescapable imagination sculpted hooks and fuelled by an impassioned energy which soaks every bold note and snarling syllable.
Formed in 2008, Combomatix is the creative union of Charmes Samson and Ian Carnage. Since exploding forward, the pair has become one of France’s very best garage punk propositions. A clutch of EPs and a self-titled debut album have made potent marks on attention and appetites as too a live presence which is used to eager plaudits. Now with the keyboard devilry of Laure adding to the spicy, volatile fun of Chinese Songs For Bad Boys, Combomatix and their voracious sound is ready to stir up a far bigger landscape with their ravenously devilish rock ‘n’ roll.
The album opens on the electronic horn of Intro, a dark herald for the devilment to follow starting with Another Shakin. Instantly beats and riffs unite in a feisty shuffle; an uninhibited flinging of sound quickly joined by just as grainy and attitude loaded vocals. The great Hammond-esque tone of the keys emerges from within the persistent blues scented rock ‘n’ roll nagging with a touch of Stones like suggestiveness, their invitation simply adding to the rest of the lures expelled by song and band.
A great full start is quickly eclipsed by the sultry surf rock spiced throes of Chinese Thought. It has a slightly eccentric character which blossoms under the imaginative enterprise of keys and guitar before throwing a surprise and twisting into a dirty garage rock bred stomp. Hazy and very agreeably grimy in its tone and textures, the track is a bracing contagion immediately surpassed by the glorious devilry of Wet Bones. Just as raw and insatiable, the track is a tempest of rhythms and irritable vocals amidst another fiercely enticing sonic web bringing a In The Whale/ Love Buzzard like infestation of ears and spirit. There is something about rock ‘n’ roll duos (at times trios in this case) which without fuss get to the core of their sound and the instincts of the listener; they just strap on and swing from the passions, and it is no better epitomised than by this rousing incitement.
If there is a prize for most addictive and virulent hook on the album, it gets given to the irrepressible asset of I’m On It. At the track’s heart, it is a delicious badgering of the senses by the guitar, its controlled but undeterred picking at ears and appetite matched by less vocal but just as flavoursome bass bait. The accompanying swagger is just as irresistible whilst sonic detours only add greater fuel, along with the raspy vocals, to one fiercely flirtatious temptation.
Never Cut The Wire has feet and hips moving with eager energy next, courtesy of its rapacious garage punk endeavours as the surf seeded coaxing of keys gets to grips with the imagination before Take A Ride offers a voraciously catchy slice of blues lined garage rock pop with frenetic beats and rebellious riffs. The magnetic tendril of melodic acidity is the icing on its slight Mobbs like romp and a kinetic persuasion more than matched by the incendiary Guinea Pig. Rhythms need barely seconds to have energetic involvement on board whilst riffs and hooks collude to enslave hips and limbs as forcibly as it has emotions and a greedy lust in tow.
The song is manna for physical and emotional lust; a quality pushed further by the tenacious sonic niggling and fevered resourcefulness of I Got Pills. You will need meds to recover from its psych rock meets noise/garage punk sorcery, either to relax after it commands your body like a puppeteer or to overcome its sinister psychosis that, admittedly very welcomingly, gets right under the skin.
The album closes with the psychedelically off-kilter and salacious shenanigans of I’ll Make You Mad; a track born of a kaleidoscope of funk tainted garage and rock ‘n roll seeded flavours with an expressive sixties/seventies flavoured dressing. Arguably the most involved and adventurous song on the album, it is a mighty conclusion and another major highlight within only lofty thrills across Chinese Songs For Bad Boys.
It took little time for Combomatix to become firm favourites and in turn provide a truly refreshing and galvanic moment for 2016. Fun and exhaustion, what could be better!
Chinese Songs For Bad Boys is out digitally and on Limited edition 12”vinyl now through Howlin Banana Records and Retard Records and also @ https://howlinbananarecords.bandcamp.com/album/chinese-songs-for-bad-boys
Pete RingMaster 16/03/2016
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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