Punching Swans – Faces

If you have allowed the boisterous noise and feral enterprise of Punching Swans to trespass ears before you will not be surprised to read that as maturity and a new bold touch embraces their latest release, their cacophony of sonic devilment is just as insatiable. Faces is a collection of tracks which stalk the imagination, manipulate the senses, and send the body into blissful spasms whilst courting a whole new level of adventure with the British trio.

Bred in the ever fertile round of the Medway region of Kent, Punching Swans is the creative union of vocalist/guitarist Greg Webster (Houdini), bassist/vocalist Joseph Wise(Frau Pouch), and drummer/vocalist Pablo Paganotto (The Explorer’s Collective). Formed in 2012, apparently “as a dare”, alongside their other projects, the band has simply grown in a sound, taking on inspirations from the likes of from The Fall, Sonic Youth, Bogshed and Mclusky as well as the dark realms of John Carpenter, The League of Gentlemen and The Evil Dead films, their imagination ensnaring releases perpetually earning bigger and keener acclaim. A self-titled debut that first year was a kind of warm up for the greater exploits inside Mollusc two years later. The album reinforced the band’s inimitable sound and creative mischief but flourished as the threesome in many ways ’took things more seriously’ with the project. Its qualities and success was only eclipsed by its successor Nesting in 2016 just as its seriously impressive character and adventure has been put in the shade by Faces.

The new album’s theme is a dark and compelling proposition; the release made up of eleven faces (tracks), each referring to the faces of serial killers. As Webster explains, “They each have a stupid feature for a face which is related to their story… so people who look kinda stupid and are unlikely killers. But then again, who is a likely killer? Can you really tell by appearance? As we wrote each new song they seemed to fit into a particular image of a face and from there we wrote what their particular background story was. We were picturing a kind of Dick Tracy rogues gallery of villains. “

The album opens up with Blood Face, gradually looming up on the senses in a sonic shimmer before a raw wash of voice and sound explodes on ears. The scything beats of Paganotto pounce and swing as a sonic swash of guitar colludes with the rapaciously dark mumblings of bass, a fiercely magnetic union completed by eager vocals. Slipping melodic teasing amongst its ravenous discord, the track is a magnificent and quickly addictive start to an album which only escalated every lure heard with imagination thereon in.

The following Areola Face instantly had hips swaying and appetite’s tongue licking lustful lips as Wise’s throaty bass strolls with dark but infectious intent, a catchiness only accentuated by the more ‘violent’ animation of guitar and beats. Ebbing and flowing in its volatility, vocals following suit, the track provides a caustic flirtation before Strobe Face licks at the senses with a rapid flicker of beats and a sonic sunspot which in turn sparks a slightly corrosive but fully captivating trespass; a captivation only boosted by the singular dance of vocals and beats which escapes before things become more psychotic yet tenderly seductive.

Through the calm but predacious post punk militance of Batter Face and the reserved siren-esque psychosis of Coral Face, animated temptation richly soaked ears; Paganotto’s kinetic swings as conniving and irresistible as the intimation shredding exploits of Webster and Wise’s skilful rhythmic dark saunters, traits fuelling the whole album from start to finish. The latter of the pair has a definite Houdini meets The Fall feel before making way for the simply glorious murderous drama and inharmonious beauty of Cliff Face. Featuring Dan Toms of Bear vs Manero and the biggest treat out of nothing but, the track is simply manna for ears and spirit, unscrupulous rascality at its best.

The following pair of Grater Face and Lady Cheese Face refers to each other, the songs “Romeo and Juliet-style lovers who simply could not be.” The first is a wild slice of post punk ‘n’ roll with a personality something akin to Mclusky meets The St Pierre Snake Invasion while its companion of sorts shows a devious side to its more tamed incursion on the senses. Discordant yet with a sonic elegance which is as threatening as it is alluring, the track is a true predator of a song, getting under the skin with subtlety and flirtation before gnawing away with bloodthirsty relish.

Raw and wolfish, Carpenter Face infiltrates ears next with an almost industrial like hue to its expanding tapestry of lawless noise. A low key serenade with a portentous breeze of sonic duplicity inserts itself in the breaths between it and Face Face straight after, the piece brief and never quite breaking the surface of its limbo before the penultimate track careers in on a rhythmic canter with a sonic mane spraying in its trenchant winds.

God Face completes the release, the song a lure of shadow bound celestial scheming simultaneously  tenebrific and radiant round another simply rousing rhythmic incitement from Paganotto and Wise alongside the melodic dissonance of Webster.

It is an enthralling end to a quite superb and increasingly addictive release. Punching Swans has never been as so damn manipulative or devilishly rousing as they are within Faces. It is not only a band at its momentously best but noise rock/post punk too.

Faces is released October 26th via Skingasm Records; available now for pre-order @ https://punchingswans.bandcamp.com/album/faces

Upcoming live shows:

OCT 26th LEEDS, Chunk

OCT 27th LIVERPOOL, Invisible Wind Factory

NOV 9th LONDON, Aces & Eights

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Pete RingMaster 23/10/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Punching Swans – Nesting

artwork_RingMaster Review

How to describe UK trio Punching Swans?

You could say they are a carnivorous groove machine, a sonically schizophrenic rumble, or a rabidly twisted siren; all applying to the creative psyche and adventure that breeds the band’s irresistible sound and now their new fiercely virulent album Nesting. Maybe the best way to describe Punching Swans is a twisted union between The Fall, McLusky, The Fire Engines, and Maths and the Moon. It is a band which despite a clutch of similarly distinct releases has remained in the shadows of the UK music scene like the black sheep of a family which gets locked away in the attic away from prying ears. Now though, the door is unlocked and the band is about to infest British rock ‘n’ roll with their tempestuously deranged math punk, courtesy of the inimitably thrilling Nesting.

Punching Swans is the ravenous creation of producer (Sunlight Studios) Greg Webster, formerly of Medway greats Houdini, the equally impressive Frau Pouch’s Joe Wise, and Pablo Paganotto from The Explorers Collective. Formed in 2011 or 2012, depending where you read, by Greg and Joe from a one-off band called Laura Palmer and the One-Eyed Jacks they got together for a Twin Peaks night, Punching Swans quickly sparked ears with a self-titled debut album in 2012, and even more so with its successor Mollusc two years later via Skingasm Records. Each has inspired potent attention and praise across fans, media, and radio shows but it is easy to feel it has all only been the taster to reactions about to be triggered by Nesting.

Telling the “story of one man’s journey from self-imposed isolation to the skies”, Nesting takes little time in gripping attention and appetite as its opener, Cuckoo Cuckold K-killed, dangles sonic bait in front of ears before the robustly contagious beats of Paganotto get to rebellious work. His swings tempt and seduce with a tenacious grin, coaxing bodily involvement as vocals walk the rhythmic web into the imagination as tangy guitar and devilish bass lures begin to stir and add to the increasingly enthralling and incendiary stroll. Unsurprisingly there is a touch of Houdini and Frau Pouch to the delicious incitement but equally thoughts of Swell Maps and inescapably The Fall also flavour the first treat.

Seriously dynamic and gripping, the album’s superb start continues with Man Nest, an even more psychotic and caustically enterprising proposition that needs mere seconds to seduce and inflame the senses too. Wise’s bass shows it has probably the grouchiest textures in British rock ‘n’ roll at its disposal whilst Webster’s guitar trespasses show no qualms about infesting the senses and psyche, acidic grooves and fiery tempting a perpetual forte.

Pigeon Street toys with more restrained energies and urgencies for its enthralling exploits next, though it is all relative to what came before as the song, with the scything beats of Paganotto an inescapable trigger to get physically involved, blossoming into an insatiable almost predatory shuffle of searing grooves, thumping rhythms, and zealous revelry. Even its calm climax has an element of off-kilter ingenuity before the infectious rock ‘n’ roll of Ovulations rumbles along with the fervent vocals of Wise and Webster holding the reins. Again hooks and grooves steal the passions as rhythms jab deeply, the song entwining post and garage punk texturing into its fearsomely alluring landscape.

That great bass tone is at its crabbiest again in the following Beak Throat and its peevish stalking of the senses within a net of guitar spun wiry hooks and sonic delights around vocal dexterity. It is hard to imagine anybody able to resist the choleric grooves of the song or possible to see the track alone avoid sending rapturous waves across post punk/noise rock pastures with its gloriously savaging and exhilarating tempest.

The brief but again irresistible invasive seduction of Ostrituals comes next to forcibly arouse the passions. If Public Image Ltd had been The Wonderstuff or Wire been McLusky, you wonder if they would have sounded like this mouth-watering predacious stomp whilst its clamorous successor Headless Chickens suggests The Dancing Did or Stomp doing salacious things with Pere Ubu or Marc Riley & The Creepers. The outcome of both and all songs though, despite suggested spices, is always something unique to Punching Swans as proven by Pecked to Death which cantankerously sits between them. Snarky in tone and unhinged in character, the track meanders and twists into unpredictable and manic detours but returning all the time to its rapacious and concussively catchy directness.

The bulging rhythms of Egg Rock is an immediate and successful infestation of the passions, its sonic tendrils and testy Mark E. Smith laced vocal strains only adding to another senses searing, lust inducing incitement before Flight brings the invasive alchemy of the album to an end. The clamant finale to Nesting is a raw soar into noise pop infectiousness and magnetic sonic caterwauling which just lights the touch paper to rapture before retiring to leave ringing in the ears and euphoria in the heart.

Nesting is the first essential album of the year and Punching Swans one of the bands set to step out of the shadows in 2016 and become seriously shouted about.

Nesting is released via Skingasm Records on 22nd January digitally and on CD with a hand numbered limited edition of 30 with a 16-page book featuring drawings and notes from the story behind the album @ http://punchingswans.bandcamp.com/

 

— Punching Swans Tour 2016 —

JAN 28 CANTERBURY w/Mass lines, Death Pedals, Negative Space

JAN 29 CHATHAM Poco Loco – MEDWAY ALBUM LAUNCH w/Girlpower & Bear vs Manero

FEB 11 CAMDEN Unicorn w/Mayors of Miyazaki + Screen wives

FEB 16 BRIGHTON TBC

FEB 21 OXFORD The Library Pub

FEB 24 BRISTOL Stag & Hounds

FEB 27 LIVERPOOL Maguire’s w/ Robocobra Quartet, Jazzhands and Cal Banda

 

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Pete RingMaster 20/01/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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