Brrr! London label Blank Editions, associated with all sorts from Thurston Moore to Theo Alexander, take a chilly plunge with the self-titled debut from Ice Baths. This one seems to be about aggressive, jangly neo-eighties post-punk, rather gritty and lo-fi on record too. Brooding lyrics are disclosed by pleasantly mild vocals, letting the instruments take care of the heavy posturing.
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- BETBC009 / 140g vinyl LP on Blank Editions, housed in reverse board sleeve incl. 2x art prints and lyric sheet
- Includes download code
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Robin has a bad week ahead of him. Mountains of psych to get through without me taking the indie things off him. I thought I'd help him out by reviewing this debut album from this chillingly named London four piece but it's skewed guitars might have given him a break from the relentless drone.
Basically, it's another record that sounds like Women. It's so much like Women that it does that thing of starting with the weirdest track they can come up with before revealing that actually they do like playing tunes after all. Opener 'Freighter' is a falling apart little mess like Ornette Coleman was asked to pick up Thurston Moore's guitar. Stick with them though because 'Circuits' is great. The band showcase the idea that you can play music like Women but you can drone it and not change chords very much. They hone this idea on 'Naked Reflection' which sounds like Chris Reimer's guitar has been taped up and left to make scree for eternity.
They do move around though, 'New Strappings 1' has tangled sashaying guitars that dance around sturdy bass playing and clattering drums. The guitars on this record again show how modern bands have gone back to the twin guitar attack of Beefheart in order to learn that it takes two to tangle. The record has some brilliant almost inadvertent moments as though everything was thrown up in the air and left where it landed. There's difficult bits for sure but this is vibrant, inventive avant rock.
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