Quiet Marauder – Men

Quiet Marauder

     Exactly how good an album Men whilst engulfed by its epic mass of tracks it is hard to actually decide but as a compelling and persistently suggestive slab of fun there are no doubts about the debut album from Welsh band Quiet Marauder. It is a mass of musical and lyrical devilry, a persuasion of anti-folk which parades mischievous anarchy, humorously sculpted incites, and simple daftness across its continually engaging presence. The album is also the band’s attempt to enter the Guinness Book of Records for the longest debut album with 111 tracks. Made up of 4 CDs there are bound to be some ‘fillers’ in that intensive amounts of songs but even when the Bubblewrap Records released album does slip below the high standards set within its body, the tracks come with a charm and wit you can only embrace.

     Quiet Marauder is driven by the Cardiff based songwriting core of Simon M. Read and Jonathan Day with inspirations coming from the likes of The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Syd Barrett, Half Man Half Biscuit, Jeffrey Lewis, and The Fugs. Musically a collective of musicians with an array of sounds and equipment musical and kitchen, the band provides an encounter which is provocative and eccentric bordering crazed and fully evidenced by Men. Their previous self-released EP was a re-imagining of footballer Alan Shearer as a time traveller turned deity inhabiting humanity’s cultural memory after infiltrating all our collective history. Men also carries a concept, if less mad, through its imaginative lunacy, the four volumes of the album ‘charting the path of the male psyche through love, rejection, breakdown, madness, intoxication and, ultimately, resolution’. How much that comes over as you chuckle and roar at a great many of the songs and certainly contemplate most can be debated but as mentioned what is undeniable is the pleasure and frivolity which thrills the ears.

     How to describe Men… well imagine Irish acoustic band The Radioactive Grandma meeting Flight Of The Concords in a quiet-marauders-shortcreative maze with Television Personalities and The Goons, now you get the idea. Released in Wales at the tail of 2013 and in the UK this coming January 27th, it is impossible to cover the whole of the five hours offered so we will pick some of the best tracks on the release, or rather our definite favourites.  From the brief vocally cast opening title track of Vol. 1, the CD offering a parade of songs looking at the male psyche in the pursuit of love, second song The Language of the Body featuring Little Arrow strums out its temptation with acoustic caresses aligned to a melodica seduction. The united array of vocals is excellent, raising a smile with their mischief whilst the lead vocal has a riveting tone like an inebriated Bryan Ferry. The song coaxes the imagination and emotions perfectly and is not equalled again, despite some thoroughly enjoyable engagements, until the almost baroque tones of Love Is a Two Racquet Sport croons contagiously in the ear. Both I’m Sorry I Removed Your Eyes featuring John Mouse and Annabelle spark the passions to greater hunger, the first an energetic dance of jazzy invention and the second a swoon of clumsy romance within a smouldering acoustic enticement. As with all the best songs on the album you cannot help joining in with the chorus, cries, or silliness vocally and emotionally. The quirkily anthemic It Wasn’t Me, It Was The Moon, the hypnotically persuasive The Game featuring Hail! The Planes, and So It Went Like This…. all contest best track honours not only on the first volume but whole album, the last of the trio especially incendiary to feet and an emerging devilish appetite.

     The second volume dealing with a masculine reflective look at past failures which broaden to encompass greater issues is arguably not as strong as its predecessor or certainly does not offer up as many major highlights though again every track tickles and pleases in the right places. The Dancing Did reminding Daddy’s Watching Slugs, a minimalist rhythmic and vocal tempting with again seducing melodica, makes a wonderfully virulent teasing with an additional essence of Cardiacs too it whilst the brilliant I Want A Moustache, Dammit romps with and recruits the fullest passions for its irresistible and infectious melodic swagger. Both hit new pinnacles and maybe highlight the inadequacies of the less impressing ventures even if again it has to be confirmed that there are few if any tracks which leave you lacking any joy or satisfaction. Tesco Terrorism featuring Bensh is another prankish incitement of impish artistry which is immediately followed by the outstanding Impressive, a naggingly addictive stroll of vocal and melodic rascality. Though the second disc is not the strongest as suggested earlier it does provide some of the very best songs and example of the irreverently enthralling imagination and almost coltish ingenuity of the band. With mentions for the brilliant Young Knives like If We Were Playas with Houdini Dax guesting and Every Last Dinosaur with the addition of again John Mouse to its exceptional luring a must,  we move to the third and fourth volumes.

     CD three is the strongest of the four collections of songs. From the verging on psychotically mad second track Genes And A Good Name featuring Spencer McGarry the rib tickling evocations just keep coming with the likes of the Bertie Wooster like relish of I’m Beau Brummell And I’m Just Dandy and the Blade Runner tantalising of the cyber bred Do Androids Dream Of Electric Nonsense lighting new waves of hunger for the cunning lyrical and musical mastery at work. The sultry antics of the rampantly enticing Gin and Jazz lights more lofty flames of pleasure alongside the likes of the rapacious and shadowed antics lyrically unveiled by The Business Deal which includes Jimmy Watkins of Future Of The Left, a song with a St. Pierre Snake Invasion punk voice to it. More must mentions go to I Took Some Pills I Found On The Floor, Everyday Is A Good Day, and The Day The Animals Went Fuckin’ Crazy!, further gems amongst more than a few.

    The concluding CD is again arguably less flirty with big highlights but a stretch with a strong wash of inventive and fuller bodied songs. It also offers one of the most irritatingly addictive songs on the album in the smouldering yet impossible addictive presence of Naughty Nights, a potent slow burn of vocal knavery and melodic coaxing which worms under the skin and psyche to repeat like gassy wind at any given moment. Its lofty perch is admittedly challenged by subsequent tracks like Clever Quote From Mark Twain with Andrew Paul Regan helping out, and the delicious Every Time We Think Of One Another featuring Francesca’s Word Salad, but most of all from the gypstep waltz of Hello The Robotic Singularity, doom and partying all in one flight of invention as well as the world’s final conversation, Humanity’s Final Hour. To be honest favourites shift with every listen, as even whilst writing Imaginary Music with its Gary Numan and Are Friends Electric? seeding makes its claim, reminding just how many and irrepressible and thrilling songs are on Men.

    Featuring a flood of other guest artists in its midst, whether you can listen to the album in one swoop is debatable as at times repetitions of melodies and rhythmic sculpting is apparent to temper the effect of some, but you can certainly shape a vast array of different playlists to enjoy from its admittedly surprising excellence to only enjoy without restraint. At the start you cannot help expecting plenty of flab and flannel in an album of so many tracks but Quiet Marauder soon and constantly set those thoughts straight. A brilliant album…still not sure but an unreservedly enjoyable one there is no question and the easiest of recommendations to make.

http://www.quietmarauder.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Quiet-Marauder/357156500982561

8.5/10

RingMaster 24/01/2014

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No fear just imaginative provocation: an interview with Dale Crover of Melvins

melvins

Any real rock fan knows that the legendary Melvins never shy away from invention, exploration, and mischief within their continually impressive creativity and releases. Three decades have seen the Washington band ignite the senses and imagination as well as music itself with their one of a kind ingenuity, and the release of Everybody Loves Sausages presented yet another album to lift the emotions and provoke the senses. Consisting of cover songs from bands which the members of Melvins have a passion for themselves and featuring an array of guest vocalists the album is one of the biggest sparks to strike 2013. Intriguing to find out more about the album and its creation we had the pleasure of asking drummer Dale Crover about the release, particular songs, and some of those additional friends helping bring the album to life.

Hi Dale and many thanks for sharing your time to talk with us.

You have just released your excellent album Everybody Loves Sausages, a collection of cover tracks. Did the fact that the songs were not yours originally bring a different emotion and feeling compared to your previous releases as it’s unveiling to the world loomed?

We started recording cover song with the idea of releasing them as singles. It wasn’t until we had a bunch of songs done that we realized we had a decent albums worth of material. We didn’t treat this record any differently than any other release.

Did its recording also offer up a different type of fun just because they were songs which you had no involvement in the writing of?

We’ve always done cover songs since day one and we’ve always liked playing covers. Almost every record we’ve ever done has a cover song on it. If we’re going to do a cover, we try to own it like we wrote it. We either try to improve it or at least do it justice.

The time and attention given to each track and your interpretation suggests the songs and bands were ones which had a strong impact upon yourselves, is that the case and the reason for their choosing?

Well yeah, these are all songs by bands that we really dig!

Was there an extended debate within the band over chooses or the songs were relatively unanimously agreed on from the start?

No! We’re all in agreement here. We have pretty much the same musical tastes. I don’t know if Coady and Jared knew much about The Fugs, but they seemed like they were into it. That’s a band that has a pretty big influence on us. Listen to that song, and then our song Black Bock and maybe you’ll hear it.

In the choice of tracks was there any element of mischief, making choices to catch people off guard maybe?16315_10151432583720939_1671142432_n

We thought going from Venom’s War Head into Queen’s Best Friend would throw people for a loop. From totally aggro to I love you! It works perfectly! We weren’t trying to be ironic doing either of those songs though. We really do love the Queen song! It’s a great tune!

You are no strangers to doing cover songs as you said but how big a step did it feel making a full length album of them and did it offer experience or problems which your own compositions do not inspire?

In case you haven’t noticed by now, there’s nothing we’re afraid of doing. I’ve read reviewers say that we did a covers record because we have nothing left to say. Obviously these people haven’t been paying attention to what we’ve been doing. In a space of a year we put three releases by three different versions of the band, toured across Canada, did a record setting tour of the US, released a series of split 12″, toured Europe twice and now put this record out. I’m sure I’m probably forgetting about something as well.

The album also sees a wealth of your friends vocally adding their individual touch to many of the tracks, was it a concentrated decision before the start who you would bring in for what or did the tracks almost invite obvious choices for you?

Some of them we’re well planned. Mark Arm from Mudhoney doing Scientists for example, or Jello Biafra doing Roxy Music. I think we had a few different ideas for Jim Thirwell. He chose Bowie.

Did you give them precise directions to approach the songs especially vocally or let them run with the idea and ball? I ask as our favourite track on the album In Every Dream Home A Heartache, which sees Jello Biafra transforming the Bryan Ferry bred shadows in an organic almost improv like evolution before the ear.

We worked with these different people because we like what they do. We wouldn’t dare tell anyone what to do, or how to sing. I did however tell Clem Burke from Blondie that he was going to do a drum solo. He asked what type of solo to play. My only instructions were to “freak out”!

How long did the album take to make and was it all recorded in one studio or across varied stages with all the guests involved?

We did most of the tracking the winter before last, mostly at Sound Of Sirens studio. A few things were recorded elsewhere.

Is there any particular song or moment which lit your personal fires a little more intensely on the album than most?

Hmm, that’s hard to say. I like hearing the songs when they start to gel. Usually that happens in the overdub process, after I’m done with the basic structure of a song. That’s when I start to get ideas or hear parts in my head. That’s the moment for me where I feel the most creative and exited.

I have to ask about The Jam track Art School which features Tom Hazelmeyer on vocals with a great tongue in cheek cockney accent to song and the following skit end. Was it coincidental that his closing fun felt like a mischievous pop at the middle class background of the great band riding the supposed anarchy of the punk movement in their early days?

Less coincidental and more whiskey fuelled. The English are an easy to target to poke fun of.

180178_496925000938_3202216_nIs the album something you would look at doing again, have already ideas of songs to cover prompted thoughts in that direction?

We recorded way more than what’s on the record. For the vinyl we’re going to release each song as a single with unreleased B sides.

Melvins is an iconic band who has inspired so many bands across your influential years, what inspires your creativity most potently?

Everything that surrounds us.

Will you be taking the album or tracks on tour and if so will your friends on Everybody Loves Sausages be lured to make their part too?

I doubt it, but I would like to play some of those songs live.

What is next on your horizons as a band and individually?

We’re doing our 30 year anniversary tour of the US this summer. After that I’m not sure. Probably more of the same. Hopefully I’ll get to produce more records. Our engineer Toshi Kasai and myself produce bands under the name Deaf Nephews. We recently worked with the bands Qui and Federation X. Toshi has a studio now and we’re for hire to produce and perform on projects.

Once more a big thank you for sparing time for us, any last thoughts or temptations for the readers?

Yes, I know what the real meaning of life is, and its…

Read the review of Everybody Loves Sausages @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/melvins-everybody-loves-sausages/

http://themelvins.net/

The RingMaster Review 16/05/2013

 

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Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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