Red20 Misled But Not Dead
It seems I've been listening to the sound
of angry young Sheffield ever since I was forcibly acquainted with the Peel
Programme over twenty years ago. There was a long period where the only music
worth listening to came from Sheffield, Berlin, Dusseldorf, Sydney and Chicago
and the mood of all the good films seemed to be as grim, noisy and damp as a
rainy night in any of those places.
And indeed this begins with Arabic-influenced noises
reminiscent of the opening of Bladerunner we're in the strange
rainswept and neon-lit interzone where you can buy both Korean knock-offs of
Malaysian active tattoos that cycle through some J-Pop video, and a bag of
chips with curry sauce.
Then there is MeTaL guitar and distorted ranting vox. We
could be listening to any INDUSTRAIL(tm) band on the planet, but for two
crucial differences. The guitar is very much in the style of the godlike
Santiago Durango and the bits where the drum-machine takes a solo are all
thunderous breakbeats. If this is INDUSTRAIL(tm), then it's been off mixing
with angry post-punks, paying attention to the sounds coming from the cars of
passing rice-boys and generally knocking around with some random and unsavoury
characters, rather than just going down the mall and mithering about outside
The track named Misled could well be the
call-to-prayer of some post-apocalyptic machine culture. I don't know where or
when this album comes from somewhere along the axis marked by the line
on the map between Berlin and Sheffield, but at an angle to the reality that we
understand. There, the vehicles are all fuel-cell/biofuel hybrid V8s with
all-wheel drive and uniform paintjobs of grey and rust. The best places to live
are ex-government bunkers or isolated farms. The worst places are the cities.
No one but the useless or desperate would live any place where there's so
little scope for managing your own affairs since there is no system anymore.
(Hm. Sounds like some awful libertarian paradise. We'll have no more of that.)
The track I'm listening to now should rightly be called
'Chorus for human air-raid sirens.' An interesting and Futurist concept. And
now they've wired the guitar amps into a three-phase supply and they're making
great Tesla-feedback noises while jumping up and down on a howling Steve Vai
solo. A truly excellent noise that ends far too soon. "GRAAAAAAARK!
Widdywiddlywiddly! WHAM! WHAM! WHAM! GROOOOOAAAAARK!" it went. Lovely. Oh, and
now they've taped up the solo in a box and shot it into space. A most
enterprising solution to the problem of global guitar-solo pollution.
Unfortunately the solo plummets to earth and uncovers the
remains of a robot Gary Clail that had been buried in a time-capsule from 1988.
Through some mischance the zombie robot is reanimated and wanders the
countryside rapping in a distracted manner about sprockets and Ford Cortinas
and dragging a clanking guitar accompaniment behind it on a length of chain.
After a number of adventures, the zombie robot is cornered in a rubber bass
guitar factory where it annoys its alleged captors by flinging itself about the
place in a tuneful manner and waving the chained guitar solo about its
An excellent way to end a CD. (Were it not for an extra and
unlabelled track which explores the new subgenre called