Sunday, November 16, 2008

Gamma goat - Beard of sound, beard of sand

One of the pleasures of this 'job' is that you can follow a label if you are lucky enough to get linked in with one. Since the first large parcel of releases arrived from Bryan Day, the Public Eyesore and now Eh? journey has been nothing less than fascinating - there is very little predictable about what these labels put out: the three in the recent slim envelope are a case in point. Eh?39 Beard of Sound, Beard of Sand by Gamma Goat is the first up for show.

Apparently a three piece, this shows that Americans do understand irony. The low-fi approach is taken to new and unusual areas by this mutant rock band. There are 11 tracks in this 33 minute blast. Three, Precaution procedure, Outstanding citizen and Civil suit are short metallic, rubbish-bin style percussion pieces, with a little bit of processing thrown in (the legalistic titles must mean something to someone!) that act as bridges.

Mighty big boots is slow ponderous rock and roll, death metal vocals and sort of melodic (what is that cycling, slapping sound at the end - it recurs on another track) and is followed by another musical track, Goats on top with a swampy rhythm Beefheartish vocal accents, muddy recording, with wind out of tapping percussion, the electric guitar and whooping. Slurpy scrabbling introduces the slow bass and drums of Bowleater, electric guitar twangs and more distant vocals. Things descend further into lo-fi with Barren which sounds like it was recorded live in a club, the cheap cassette deck hidden under voluminous clothing resulting in a distorted thump rocker with shouted vocals  which has got something to it, somewhere. Death metal growling returns with In the dessert - slow driving bluesy, buzz sliding guitar and drums. 

The last three track take another track: Traps the golden light of being is a skillful rapid percussion piece with jangling guitar; the high short string guitar continues in Dealin' cards/ante up which introduces some processing - backwards sounds, echoey bass, strange highlights and drum riffs, which are taken even further in Killing ducks with nunchuks which has reversed sounds and strange squeals.

OK - a strange perverse rock album - you might not buy it as a stand-alone, but as part of the ever exciting and suggestive PE/Eh? magical mystery tour it actually grows on you.

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