REVIEW: Stark – “Wield”

By JHR

Chain Border

WieldSome number of years ago there was a record/single/track/something-or-other (I'm going to assume it was music. Given the band in question, it might as well have been some machine parts or an arrangement of holes in the ground, spread across the counties of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire) named Bamp-Bamp released by a band known as The Bambi Slam. It used to regularly bother me that I didn't know what Bamp-Bamp sounded like. Was it the noise made by a ball of slugs rolling down the main staircase of Snowshill Manor in Gloucestershire? I'd awake with a start in strange hotel rooms convinced it was, for instance, the sound of rancid socks being thrown against the french windows of a Bed & Breakfast in Whitley Bay, but several hours drive, some impromptu experimentation and a sharp exit before the police arrived put paid to that and several other similarly futile speculations.

However, the mystery is maybe solved. Bamp-Bamp is the noise made by the kick-drum in the album version of the track named Wield by the band called Stark. Or maybe they've been equally vexed by the same question and are attempting to externalise the problem in a ritualistic and performance-oriented manner. Who can say?

It's very... Industrial. You know that synth-bass that's been used since time immoral? The one that goes 'buddabuddabuddabudda?' That. And the 'tschak' snare-noise that Kraftwerk used first on Computerworld? That too. And some film sample. Truly the uneasy spirit of Bill Leeb stalks the land as a roaring lion, seeking out whom he may devour. I really dig the detuned hi-hat rolls in the Kinetic remix. It adds a fine handbag-house vibe which is otherwise sadly missing. They're gonna have to kick up the BPM a way if they want to get played by Anne Savage or the Tidy Boys, mind.

WordsY'know, this is going to go down a storm in the sort of places that still look like that Tech-noir club in the first Terminator film. Hell, I've been to enough of them myself. Until I realised that I could find the same sort of ambience at any light engineering firm, where you were less likely to meet annoying twats and they didn't look at you askance if you insisted on wearing ear-defenders.

Pattaya chunters along with the synths set on that random modulation thing that the Human League used in Love Action, only quicker and with much more swearing. Would the League have been better with the odd 'fucking bollocks!' thrown in? More than likely not. It always strikes me that by the time a band are old enough to master a sequencer or have grown tall enough to stand behind a keyboard without needing a beer-crate to peer over the top and stare malevolently at the audience, they should have moved beyond the 'poo poo plop willy bottom knickers' school of lyric writing.

Ooh - glitchy digital-breakage noises. Do they go anywhere... No. Bugger. Well, they do. Eventually. As if they were travelling on a coal-fired bus that more properly belonged in some manner of post-apocalyptic fiction.

Lifestyle is excellent. It sounds like the pre-game music for some First-Person-Shooter cum Adventure/Puzzler set in a brutal and dystopian parallel world. The sort of place where the militia are omnipresent and probably steam around in vehicles of few polygons and a noise like a 2CV full of rats being pushed into a flooded quarry. The ruling elite all ponce around in big houses like it was pre-revolutionary France and the populace are kept quiet with the aid of semi-legal drugs and wall to wall bad television. You, the hero, must raise the consciousness of the proletariat with regular speaking engagements at workers' educational meetings and thereby foment revolution and bring about the establishment of a socialist state.

Exquisite Pain goes 'wop wop wop' and bangs on about fridges a great deal, as far as I can tell. Which is to be commended, but the canonical song about refrigeration remains The 3Mustaphas3 iconic work, Fiz'n. It starts really well, mind. Like the robot Jesus and Mary Chain having a swift kick-about with the robot Three Johns. Sort of. Actually, it doesn't go 'wop wop' at all. More a sort of 'Eeeeaawww eeeeaaawww rattaratta clat.'

The final track is very random indeed. Bing bong splot tiddy-tiddly plunk dang clatter. Splendid stuff. More like that, please.

Contact Information:
Post: Ground Under Productions, P.O. Box 246, Northcote, VIC 3070, Australia
E-Mail: info@gup.net.au
Web: www.gup.net.au

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