Anata Wa Sukkari Tsukarete Shimai “The Lost Charles Underscore” (Bearsuit, 2013)
This enigmatic international file-sharing trio from England, Scotland, and Japan have several EPs and split-LPs in their discography, but this is their first full-length. And in keeping with their secretive tradition, only the Brits are involved this time. Their Japanese partner (like Prince in his wackier days, he goes by the keyboard symbol, _, and is referenced in the album title, although who “Charles” is remains a mystery) seems to have fallen off the face of the earth, so the album was created by remaining members Gnomefoam and Bunny.
Our trip begins with whispered voices pondering the musical question, “Are You Ready” then proceeds to kick out the jams with a ferocious guitar blast before fading out on the back of children’s voices. “Drink It Up” introduces the duo’s modus operandi of distorted, overmodulated voices punctuated by glitchy electronics and syncopated sound effects combining to create a punky hip-hoppin’ atmosphere. Nine Inch Nails and Ministry are familiar reference points, with the former’s horror house of terror industrial metallic shwooosh intertwined with the latter’s freaky danse macabe backing.
“Thread Wire” is an eerie tribute to Carl Stalling’s cacophonous “Bugs Bunny” soundtracks, but like much of their sonic poems here, it veers off course halfway through for a calm moment of reflection before resuming its sonic assault on the senses. And the poetically-titled “hit single”, “I Can Make Footprints With My Eyes” might just get the punters out on the dance floor in between fisticuffs! At the other end of the spectrum, “Eyelashes” has an out-of-character dreamy quality to it that almost sounds like it was meant for a different album. But I like it – it gives us a chance to catch our collective breaths and recover from the musical sucker punch that preceded it! Of course, this being AWSTS, you know they’ll find a way to drop some glitch syncopation into the mix before they finish!
You may not find yourself digging this album out too often to listen all the way through – it’s an hour of your life that requires your undivided attention to fully appreciate all the nuances and kitchen-sink aesthetic in action - there’s a LOT being thrown at you all at once – and it is definitely not background music for cleaning the flat. But repeat listens will reveal a sonic intelligence at work (and play) here that would work wonderfully in a cinematic setting. These guys need to get involved in film music to share their concoctions with a greater audience. Rob Zombie, Danny Boyle, Quentin Tarrentino, Tim Burton… have I got a band for you to compose your next soundtrack!
Review made by Jeff Penczak/2013
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