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- Spen Beck by Cleckhuddersfax
9/10 Li'l Biz Staff review, 21 October 2010
Cleckhuddersfax are a powerful entity in today's wishy washy indie rock climate. Their music is vibrant, enthusiastic and sewn together from a patchwork of rarely revisited styles and techniques. 'Spen Beck' on Upset The Rhythm is the follow up to Cleckhuddersfax s/t debut that came out on my own Chinchilla-Tone label. Since then they've toured long and hard and evolved into a powerful, muscular live act that are a treat to observe in the flesh. 'Spen beck' is a eight track sprint through the forgotten ages of rock that leaps from style to style with relative ease and consistency. Shakeeb Abu Hamden (bass) and Joe Parkin (drums) lay down a serious rhythm section with Parkin's beats being of particular interest due to the super solid yet totally laid back nature of his grooves. Shakeeb brings melodic prog power to the mix, his licks reminding me of early era Genesis or Yes bassist Chris Squire laced with middle eastern arcs and saturated in a fascinating combination of pedals and tones. On top of that you've got the manual dexterity and creative flair of Tom Hirst's squelchin' synth lines that, with the help of man-kini sporting vocalist Lawrence Abu Hamden, provide the texture and cheeky humour that gels the whole thing together. 'Spen Beck' is a massive step forward from their debut and contains some of their finest compositions ever including the strangely christmasy 'The Numismatist', power-groover 'Untitles', moody disco charmer 'A Decree' and mad call and response prog wig-out 'New Durzi'. This is totally awesome record worth every penny of the money i insist you spend on it.
10/10 John Bloor Customer review, 22nd November 2010
This is a record I immediately pre-ordered upon hearing samples of some months ago and has taken ages to be pressed on vinyl.
Sounding a bit like Talking Heads with its brassy, in-your-face synth sounds, the music is arranged in such an angular, experimental way. The keyboards, drums and bass provide a complex interplay of fat, swaggering, looping, phrases over which songs are constructed. Even the singer sounds a little like David Byrne, with unreal, effected vocals more akin to a synth sound than human voice, swooping overhead.
The synths are really in-your-face, pulled along by pounding drums. There’s nothing subtle about the sonic textures going on here, yet I find the songs are bold and engaging.
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