REVIEW: V/A - "Working With Children & Animals" Vol. 2

By J. 'Hirez' H-R

Chain Border

More songs about... Something. In an oddly appealing way this could be viewed as Wasp Factory's Second Annual Report(*). Or a snapshot view of what was 'current and happening' (or whatever phrase the youth use these days) when the CD was compiled. Or it's just a compilation of W-F bands and fellow travelers. Whatever. In order, we find two tracks each from:

Swarf, who bobble along in an acceptably EBMish manner, rather than their usual dancefloor-storming techno-ish malarkey. Probably because these two tracks were produced by Reza Inertia during the aborted first attempt at the album, which was kicked into shape at the second go-around by one Marc Heal. The counter-melody in Drown really does stand out well and makes a chap think that a dance-friendly remix would be a corker.

D.U.S.T. are up next, not unlike footballers at a penalty shoot-out. Grindy bass-end somewhat reminiscent of Rosetta, wall o'metal guitars and some Proper Singing - it's all fine stuff. An ideal companion to their Lords of Madness EP reviewed elsewhere in this issue. Wraith, especially, thunders along in a strangely Rammstein-like manner.

Next we find the strange mob that are Katscan leaking out of the speakers. This is very Futurepop/EBM indeed. Not unlike Funker Vogt pissed up on scrumpy and dodgy alcopops and trying to do Bowie impersonations. Though it's a bit clumpy for me, I can see people in big boots and fake hair doing the Stompy Robot to this the world over. And why not?

Working With Children & Animals Vol. 2Psychophile. I wrote this a long time ago: Lucy bounces around while sounding like an E'd-up Diamanda Galas (She has a voice with a range that's slightly disturbing when you first hear it. Noises like that shouldn't possibly come from an ickle giggly gurlywurly.) while Smogo leaps around the stage behind her, torturing the life out of a guitar. It's the sort of ugly screeching you'd get if you hit a tin cat soundly with a rubber mallet. Meanwhile the backing track lurches from the traditional 'workers uprising in an exploding foundry' via 'accidental but repeated detonation of an experimental techno club' to 'the assassination of Hawkwind considered as a downhill steamroller race.' They're quite mad and we should love them in a very special way. There's a lot less guitar (i.e. none that I can spot) on these tracks, but everything else is mostly true.

And then there's Freudstein. Borp and glark go the synths as Mr Sweary steps up the mic. and gives full vent to his suspicions regarding...something he's clearly quite exercised about. Then things get bizarrely two-tone as everyone skanks around the room with pork-pie hats pulled firmly down over their eyebrows. One synth beyond.

Spray are, I think, the wildcards here. Camp and cheesy synthpop with an extra order of pink cheese. Of course it's utterly excellent. I Am Gothic is the sort of ironic mickey-take that fills all dancefloors with the non-po-faced. And rightly so.

And then it all goes a lot MeTaL when Interlock turn up. Huge chunky guitars and weebly synths remind a chap somewhat of Mad Capsule Markets, but the two-handed vocals break that impression badly. Were it not for Emmie's soaring counterpointery, it would get a little one-dimensionally-blokey-huuurrgh-shout. But it doesn't and they aren't. Result!

Finally we find Seventh Harmonic, who make an utterlyfuckingexcellent racket. I'd guess most would label this 'ethereal,' which would do this splendid noise a grave disservice - it's too bloody loud to be ethereal. Stroppy ethereal after several pints in search of a kebab and a rowdy party, possibly. Mad psychadelic music played by hammered early music students in the style of Ancient Beatbox, most definitely. A definite highlight.

(*) The first volume of the Working With Children & Animals series was babbled about by Gothpat in Legends #119.

Contact Information:
Post: Wasp Factory Recordings, 65-67 High St., Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 1DU, United Kingdom
E-Mail: enquiries@wasp-factory.com
Web: www.wasp-factory.com

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