There is no hiding that we have a lustful appetite for UK band Asylums and their feverishly inimitable sound, a hunger now being fed again by the Alternative Occupations EP. The Southend-on-Sea quartet have also shown through it that not only do they create some of the most essential propositions heard in recent times they have an eye and ear for other striking talent. Evidence comes in the trio of bands providing the other songs making up the EP released on Asylums own label Cool Thing Records; each an attention grabbing proposal just as ruthless on bodies and imagination.
Asylums set things rolling with a new previously unreleased track written and recorded as the busy wake of releasing acclaimed debut album Killer Brain Waves was settling down and the aftermath of Brexit consuming, that album still drawing plaudits and excited new fans the way of the foursome. Reflecting on “harsh education and health service cuts, post-Brexit Britain, and the running battle of grafting at creative efforts vs. grafting to keep afloat”, Alternative Occupations descends on ears with searing guitars and robust rhythms, openly sharing the creative traits which made the album and its songs such a rousingly infectious proposition. The warm and engaging vocals of guitarist Luke Branch increase the enticement, lyrical suggestion to the fore as melodies fly skilfully from his and fellow guitarist Jazz Miell’s strings. Feet are swiftly recruited in turn by the rhythmic tenacity of drummer Henry Tyler; it courting the seductive throb of Michael Webster’s bass as every element combines for another unique, memorable, and instinctively irresistible Asylums encounter.
The second track on the release comes from Petty Phase, an all-girl quartet also from Southend unleashing a fiercely infectious slice of punk rock
going by the name of You’ll Be Dead. Like a belligerent mix of L7 and The Kuts, the band pulls no punches with their attitude loaded sound in this their debut single, delivering one minute twenty of skilfully raucous invasively catchy rock ‘n’ roll for the EP. It is a snarling, hook swinging flirtation with riffs and rhythms as uncompromising and addictive as the melody lined snares gripping the imagination; though there is just one issue with it, the glorious strike is just so damn short.
The EP’s second side brings Essex punks The Horse Heads and their new single Castles to the party and as their companions the Chelmsford trio need little time to incite body and appetite with their post punk/punk rock trespass of the senses. Created by vocalist/guitarist Ronaldo Rodriguez, drummer George Young, and bassist Chad Worsley, Castles grumbles from the off, a deliciously throaty bassline the lure into a raw wash of biting beats, caustic riffs, and the similarly grouchy tones of Rodriguez. There is no escaping the old school punk air to the song and its components, an Angelic Upstarts/early Clash spicing flirting with scuzzy essences of bands like The Hives as its virulent assault equally stirs up nostalgia and fresh adventure. It too is over before enjoyment would wish, something applying to every song to be honest, meaning the replay button is well used across the EP.
Closing track I’m Still Here comes from Bait, a musician/visual artist we can tell you little more about except that he creates a tapestry of post punk contagion within his offering which is addiction in a speaker. Nagging hypnotic beats and rapacious riffs surround haunting predation lined vocals, an incessant tide of lures coaxing the listener deeper into the song’s tempestuous and imposing imagination coloured by lyrical suggestiveness. Artists like Brian Brain, Shock-Headed Peters, and Ministry are nudged across the compelling encounter but as all tracks within Alternative Occupations, it breeds its own uniqueness swiftly and dramatically while slipping unstoppably under the skin.
There has been numerous splits/multiple artist offerings in 2016 but few, if any, have induced lust like the Cool Thing Records proposal.
Cool Thing Presents: Alternative Occupations EP is available now on limited 12” white vinyl @ https://asylums.tmstor.es/
Pete RingMaster 14/12/2016
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