Well there’s been over a hundred of these damn things and it doesn’t get any easier thinking up ways week to week to say that the freaks behind the strings of whatever forgotten undiscovered opus is on my turntable rock it more brilliantly than half of those that are remembered, as well as bringing philosophical and spiritual right-headedness to proceedings; that the same old formula of drum, bass and a bit of gee-tar can be elevated like Icarus into the light of the infinite unknowable godhead and made into a whirling dervish of light and sound and ideas that’ll just about knock you off yer feet and give your socks a solid rocking anytime. I sure hope it ain’t losing impact just because I’m dropping endless loving on all manner of heads from all across the world all working to the same rock and roll toil and coming to radically different conclusions. Today, guess what? I bring you another hyper-punkified Groundhogged boozeup courtesy of Common Deflection Problems, more specifically their literal one-sided picture disk and their latest contribution to the annuls of thumbs-up rock and roll in the form of a TV Eye, Split-ear Groundhog proto-punk mostly-instrumental guitar freakout set heavy and low down for a stomach-inverting ball-rumbling amplifier and skin crash onto the mat; this is We All Play Synth.
It’s hard to know what to call it, there aren’t any vocals retched by a skinny geek who looks like he cuts to be able to call it weakling proto-punk like a half-hearted Rocket From the Tombs, there aren’t strutting cock-swinging yowls and howls and screams at the moon to call it post-Zeppalike wiffle either. Aside from the sheer noise of the thing (which is phenomenal) there’s this whole air of mechanics about proceedings. The record is like a landing gear or a series of staccato cracks from rhythmic factory machinery, everything is honed to a metallic machined edge without a hint of organic wild flurries or spontaneity. There’s something appealingly Wireish in the way they go about this record, and a whole inviting Krautrocky vibe throughout, like those mechanical Faust workouts, or indeed that Pharoah Chromium stuff (he released a new album, incidentally, on the same label, advise you to check it oot!). The band say they’re into mathematics, these aren’t songs, they’re musical equations. It’s a far departure because usually this weekly finger exercise routine is dedicated to someone who pours a whole lotta intangible heart and soul into things, music after all is emotion expressed as sound; this is pure logic, music written by computer and assembled by wired automatons thudding away at the strings and the skins and eyes glassy with unawareness.
There’s howling guitars, seemingly dog-piled together, there’s echoey rattling like this whole beast was recorded in some dockyards warehouse, and they only played it so they didn’t have to hear that incessant dripping anymore! The drums are taking some kind of correspondence course via post and only drop in every few weeks. The bass is just there and no more. It all cogwheels together into this metallic refusenik robotnik machine that’s compelling because of how utterly inorganic it is. I can envision music videos where guitars hang from the air in an empty practice room, strumming themselves, bass too. Drumskins pulse and jump and retract. After five minutes of their uncomprehendable mechanical orgy they all just drop to the floor. No flair, the guitar doesn’t swing into the air and go through the amplifier, everything falls back to calm. The only moments the veil breaks is in the final track, when the half-murmured wails of the musicians fracture the song. The entire album is a robotik refusenik statement. We are all robots.
As usual y’all can pootle along to bandcamp and sample it for yourself. Go forth!
Written under duress by Steven.