To date there has always been a licking of lips in anticipation of any new encounter with The Dropper’s Neck and each time so far they have rewarded with dark rock ’n’ roll which simply infests body and imagination. True to form the UK quintet has done it again with their Nineteen|Sixteen EP, the dirtiest, sludgiest, most aggressively provocative offering from the band yet, an aural proposal perfectly suited to and reflective of its lyrical theme. The EP is inspired by The Great War and takes the listener along with its protagonist into the initial ‘glamour’ and lure of conflict, through its fierce pestilence before leaving them in the stark aftermath which follows. This all comes with the familiar but ever evolving fusion of psych and noise rock, punk and psychobilly brewed by the band, and quite simply it is another ravishing treat from The Dropper’s Neck.
Formed in 2011, The Essex band quickly pricked attention and appetites with early songs and releases but it was debut album Second Coming which lit an acclaiming and hungry spotlight. Drawing on influences such as Gallows, Blood Brothers, Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, Cancer Bats, Every Time I Die, and Dead Kennedys, band and album unleashed something familiar yet powerfully unique, a distinctiveness which has festered and blossomed through the incendiary single Line Me Up For The Firing Squad and now to stronger depths with Nineteen|Sixteen. The single was certainly a potent teaser for the EP, though in hindsight just one glimpse of the dark throes and adventures now uncaged.
The release opens with the scene setting 57,470, an intro thrusting ears and imagination right into the landscape of rifle fire, thunderous artillery, and fear soaked horses. It’s violently portentous hue leads into King & Country, a sonic bridge to the incoming bruising beats and ravenous riffs entangled in an invitingly spicy groove. Rousing and anthemic, the track is a sign up of ears and emotions as potent as the bait enticing the young men of the narrative. Already though there is a snarl and corrosive edge to the music, expulsions of vocal hostility from Lloyd Mathews aligning with his expected and great monotone laced delivery. Hard rock ‘n roll stirring up air and body, the track is a forceful incitement setting things in compelling motion.
Somme comes next, the rhythmic and anthemic overtones of its predecessor veining its initial coaxing whilst hooks and grooves are soaked in even sharper, almost venomous incitement. Striding with an Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster meets Engerica like warped swing and brawling with a caustic Cancer Bats/KEN mode like ferocity, the latter becoming more intensive in ears as the reality of the horror of war is opened up, the track is little less than deranged bestial contagion.
Its increasing hellacious presence makes way for the even more psychotic Line Me Up For The Firing Squad, the track a maelstrom of rabid sounds, scarring vocals, and blistering viciousness. Within its raw and merciless tempest though, grooves and rhythms create the addictive shuffle of bait and infectiousness renowned from the band, the bass of Jack Turner especially seductive at times within the muddy and humid atmosphere of the unforgiving blaze. Production across the release is raw and very often as cold as the soundscape being explored; an aspect some have offered as a slight flaw but it only adds to and represents the physical effect and filthy ambience of the ground the EP’s context is inspired by.
The thumping beats of drummer Jamie Abela trap and push ears into the scuzzy punk ‘n’ roll of 200 Volts next, the guitars of Chris Blake and George Barrows creating a creative antagonism of defiant riffs and provocative grooves respectively. The predatory spine of the song is a virulent enticing which sends searing flames of sonic fire and expels hardcore spawned vocal hostility from its sobering bait with increasing tenacity and rage. It is an abrasive storm exciting and scarring already bruised and tender senses, no respite coming with the outstanding contagiously toxic and inventively addictive Monster. The track swarms through ears and over the psyche with its rhythmic emprise and sonic nagging, its body as the previous encounter, a garage punk spawned dynamo of bracing angst and violent intoxication, and the best track on the release, though there are so many rivals such as the closing Stutter which rampages straight after. Everything about the song, from jabbing and military seeded beats to erosive riffs, vocal diversity to scything grooves, is sheer inventive and hostile virulence, rock ‘n’ roll to honour the dead and incite the darkness of horrors past.
With a bugle announcing the end of hostilities in hidden track The Eleventh Hour, the Nineteen | Sixteen EP comes to a haunting close leaving thoughts rife and satisfaction full. The release is not a history lesson but certainly it makes a provocative and striking proposal with its pungent theme whilst musically revealing another thrilling exploit from one of the UK’s most exciting bands.
The Nineteen | Sixteen EP is available from 13th July @ https://thedroppersneck.bandcamp.com/album/nineteen-sixteen