Chronophage - Th' Pig Kiss'd LP
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Released via Minneapolis 'Cleta Patra' & then re-released for Europe via Rotterdam's Soft Office label, and then sourced and organised and dwelled upon in word-form for us here in Bristol by Adam Reid, of Schwet fame and responsible for some of Bristol's hottest & most rotten, and totally-tireless live show organisations 'back in the day', part of the Avon Terror Corps machine, and responsible for some of the best-of-weirdo transmissions on Noods Radio - Adam has has been contributing to the RWDFWD grind with a few musical finds and ponderings recently - a much needed extra hand and pair of ears - he's responsible for finding us that killer C-Schulz for example... -
Anyway, this Chronophage LP has now landed at our humble confines here in Bristol, and doesn't seem to be about in the usual spots on this Island, as far as we can see at least - seems like these records are going faster than the label can keep up with it too, so if you like the sound of this one, don't sleep for too long >>
Check the schwet-talk:
Marrying outré-punx with a wyrd and playful pop sensibility, an easy 2020 highlight.
Overtly musical and melodic in it’s own off-kilter fashion, this is a hugely accessible record, ticking so many boxes without ever getting boxed in. There’s just something about this LP. Each time it finishes I’m gagging to start it over again, just to double-check it really was THAT good. Guess what? It delivers each & every! A “Time Eater” for sure. (Chronos + Phage in Ancient Greek...).
‘Passageway’ puts me in a position of imagining Neil Young embracing the post-punk/new wave spirit (just picture for a minute if he’d made a record with Sonic Youth rather than Pearl fkn Jam, OR if he’d done more than that one legendary lysergic jam with Devo...eesh). Over a lunging bassline and longing Casio keys, our hero out-shakes ol’ Shakey, voice crackin' up as he dares to hit those high notes where nae punk has ever been before. I mean, I’m not sure he succeeds but by God I can only love them for trying. (P.S. the first 3 seconds of this track are somewhat similar to NYC pre-teen Chandra’s 1980 track ‘Kate’. Coincidence? Probably. Will I accuse them of a sly homage/rip in-person if we ever meet? Yes).
Personal highlight ‘Any Junkyard Dreams’ gallops out of the gate, scratchin’n’scrawling with militant urgency. Here we hear Sarah Beames range, first in a phlegmatic monotone dictation immediately recalling Niagara’s iconic phrasing for Destroy All Monsters. But then, that chorus! Come the lush vocal harmonies, come the xylophone, come the Young Marble Giants comparisons!
‘Destiny Falls’ is a far more languid and sparse affair, led by a Casiotone riff that almost verges into G-Funk territory. Is slowcore even allowed to sound this optimistic? ‘Siren Faraway’ is prime 80s SST Records gold, really coming into its own towards the end with a climatic cacophony of warp&zap synth-bleeps going haywire.
‘Heartstone’ dives headlong into indie-rock pastoralism, high melodrama in effect. Acoustic strum, tabletop electronic tinkering, Beames in wistful balladry mode. 99% of the time I have no interest in this sound, but The Chrono just do it just right.
‘Talking Android’ ramps it up again. We’re in MX80 Sound territory here (a damn fine place to be if you ask me). Hyper-tense guitar battling morbid organ. ‘Name Story’ also has me harking back to MX80. That taut, harsh jangle is to die for and those flamethrower samples are just the icing on the cake.
‘Animated Rose’ is another highlight, post-punk balladry at it’s finest. Those dual vocal harmonies are just too dreamy. Proper song this, just a wonderful arrangement. 10 points to that xylophone player. And URGHHH that riff towards the end, every time!!!
Glad to be out of our comfort zone for this one. Apparently, you’ll love it if things like Beat Happening and Go Betweens are yr bag, but I can neither confirm nor deny these allegations. Also, I spent a few weeks thinking this lot were from Oz. Not sure why, though there’s definitely a couple of moments that sound like a very spritely Mr. Cave.
Managed to snag the last copies of the first pressing of this seriously brilliant LP.
We’ve got the EU version, released by equally fantastic Rotterdam group Lewsberg on their new label Soft Office. Actually has a completely different tracklisting than the US pressing, go figure...
A1 At Last I Am Run Dry
A4 Any Junkyard Dreams
A5 Destiny Falls
B2 Talking Android
B3 Animated Rose
B4 Siren Faraway
B5 Name Story
Any Junkyard Dreams