Hallelujah, and explode: Venture into the anachronistic hinterland with Man’s Gin and the Fnords - IN SEARCH OF SPACE #137

Jon Lord is dead, Maynard is becoming a vintner. Whether you’re respectable or a full on freak, in the close of this foul year of our lord, rock and roll is the devil. As the creation of a true righteous list of the supreme enduring meditations of the year commences, taking hours of dedication and careful consideration and research, as well as a degree of nostalgic posthumous voyaging back into the half-life trips of the previously trodden ground of the rock and roll sub-basement. It’s vital to check yourself against a fair selection of the last few blasted and fearful and wrong years for previous winners and a cut or two of overlooked barbaric genius. To that end I bring, from 2010, Man’s Gin’s debut album Smiling Dogs, a true blues slowgrind non-metallic black metal release from half of true black metallers Cobalt which tees up the new Man’s Gin album due soon; I also bring to you from much closer to home the 2011 debut from the Fnords, soon to be re-released on proper vintage artefact vinyl at Edinbuggers own Elvis Shakespeare records and good stuff wholesaler. Please do come on in.

Man's Gin and their smiling dogs.
Man’s Gin play full-on black back country blue blues industrially connected to Cobalt; my Cobalt article is forthcoming, like anything except inane ramblings on Hendrix, this needs to be a coupla years in the making because the music of Cobalt lives and breathes and ages and to fully appreciate it is to let it infiltrate your soul for a matter of years because words to describe Cobalt (particularly sophomore release Eater of Birds) do not come from within, but are accrued from without; but Man’s Gin initially are much more centre-field. It’s the full-on sound of the still fairly-wild west. More pro-active than Gin, they’ve laid down a coupla baritone ballads for the post-apocalypse fireside warble in the ruins of our cities; Gin was a warning. A warning for what foreshadows Smiling Dogs; in a world that worships around the atom without ever looking outwards, apocalypse is not just likely, but inevitable. A ripple backwards through time stiking the members of Man’s Gin and animating them with sinisterly beautiful rumblings from ‘yond and ‘fore the grave rent with bitter Thompsonian (H.S. y’all ‘nd’r’st’nd) observances and darknesses. Recalling the embittered laments of the darkened mumblers in the crater-wracked post-apocalyptya in which historical notations about the latterday worship of the bomb are taken to mean that civilisation is achieved by the embrace of Armageddon as a daily possibility. It might be ‘acoustic’ if it were on a bill, playing some dank tabac-stained bar, but this is one super-heavy album. The key to blues, which non-Americans can sometimes miss is that it isn’t just despair, it’s failure. And in America, failure is not just personal, but a betrayal of the myths America tells about itself. It’s the realisation that the deal in American life is rigged, and different to its publicised form. Think of it as a sister record to the Cadaverous Condition slice on limited ed from Fuck Off and Di. Let us all raise a toast to 2010, and the apocalyptic death folk elite.

Now, say it with me – punk is shit. Punk is a dribblesome bore hijacked from being the voice of disaffected youth to being the shouty guitar-lesson exclusively for the sort of faux-alientated youth who not only think they’re part of something really big which is actually dead long ago and the corpse is decaying, but also refuse to clean their room (except for keeping the Che poster spotless), and don’t care who knows what a Che they absolutely are. In short, a music for internet-snipe guttercunts who use the term rockpunk without drenching the three feet in front of them with vomit immediately at the mere thought of exactly how far we’ve gone from 1976. In short, punk nowadays is a music which only exists in the vain hope of all those who used to love punk that maybe someone looking for Green Day MXPX wank will accidentally send their details to a Swiss euthanasia clinic. We can dream. Punk still exists, natch, as does metal, as does post-Velvets superlative genius scraped up off the floor of the sub-basement and every sort of grimy sexy filth you used to love. People still make it. But with the ongoing guerrilla war being waged against all that’s good and pure and drunk and easy by jackbooted stuffed-shirt bank managers tramping all over the Rhineland of everything impressive and transcendental and self-talking music can be, just like good metal and good post-Velvets et cetera all the quality punk is so underground yer pretty blessed if you ever get a hold of any. Thankfully, I’m here, to give you the Fnords (pronunciation variable). Their debut album, Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Fnords is not only a ballsy femmesurfpunk ass-kick in a sweaty basement that couldn’t give a fuck about you or your haughty airs, it’s also good advice. Perhaps their follow up should be called Greedheads Shouldn’t Fuck With Drunk Fnords (Don’t Eat the Yellow Fnords? A Fnord in the hand is worth two in their cups?).

Don't fuck with the Fnords - Bad ass.
Firstly, before I delve into the righteous MDMA-inflected visions, let me just say it’s great to hear a band who know when to end a song. Preferably at the end, without another solid minute of gazing intently up yer own arse! While you still be shuddering from the mix of surf guitar and assault of righteousness, the song’s already dropped out and the next one is half gone. The Fnords treat a song, and an album, like the Navajo treat a buffalo, they use every single fucking piece. And after witnessing a live ritual, I can confirm their gigs are conducted at the same breakneck pace. I think they only stop playing ‘tween songs to inhale. The live performance I saw also came to a shuddering knee-trembling climax with Wire’s 12XU, and Wire are the closest comparison to what the Fnords do. It ain’t post-punk but it sure sings like it. No space is wasted, there isn’t a second without something going down you’re going to dig. Now lemme tell y’all what it is. It’s full on April March with a twist of acid and a bitter streak right through the marrow like a stick of Brighton rock. They’re part of the great Edinbugger music tradition and their gigs are pure groove fests conducted at a million miles an hour, keep up!

Written under duress by Steven.

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