I have no idea how this fella’s haircut works. I don’t know what bit of hair is attached to what bit of scalp. But I do know that you and I and the whole of London will soon be sporting this very style upon our heads because this… chap… is… the guy from… DD/MM/YYYY, and they are easily in the top three things ever to happen in Canada. Ever!
They also write music that is pretty much unreviewable. It’s not that they don’t ever sound like any other band, but when you do clutch at a glimmer of sound overlap, that’s not where these mighty chaps are coming from.
So here is a list of the irrelevant comparisons I thought I could hear: Deerhoof, but less songy. Battles, but more songy. Early Foals, but tighter and more complex. Six Finger Satellite, but less clownish. Boards Of Canada, blatantly… for about three seconds. Tortoise with charisma. Perry Farrell in the bath. Squarepusher with the munchies. Forward Russia having attacks of Chik Budo. Zoogz Rift puppeteering Purple Stag on the grave of Truly (did I just make all that up?). Gong molesting The Mars Volta for the amusement of King Crimson.
All of it completely irrelevant since, as I had been warned, DD/MM/YYYY have a “no-style” approach to music-craft. I didn’t believe it, but it’s not far off as a description. The one idea I did have which stuck was that the whole band was synchro-hallucinating Frank Zappa wielding conductor’s baton above the audience’s heads. And they have practised really hard for a million years. In the rhythm of N/N. Most of these songs seem to exist to prove how bouncably groovy any time signature can be. Higher maths. One tune calculated Pi to 1000000 decimal places. But it comes out more as autistic space-jazz than math rock. Almost every song is rhythm-based, there are no solos, not too many motifs even, just additions to the groove, and instrument-interplay key-changes. The drums dominate, followed by guitar detail and big fat synths. Solid basslines and the variety-guy (sax/spare snare and beaten-up crash cymbal) fill the rest of the space, with cartoonish zero-ego vocals sitting on top..
Enough analysis. How did I feel? Did it work? Well… I felt entranced. It worked stunningly well. Nobody knows what any of the songs were supposed to be about, but I was so deeply cuddled up in their slipper of sound, and amazed by how thoroughly well they chugged. There was no attempt to tug at a emotional heartstring, just to uplift your tantric verve with hypno-intensity and complex brain-shuffling. Like I said, they’re nearly unreviewable. Go and listen to them.
Support on the night came from two equally noisy but quite different sources. Hymns are a very sharp two-piece (guitarist vs. drummer) from the midlands. Without any notion of enjoying themselves, they martyred themselves upon their instruments, in precise fits of religious agony. “More bile, please” chanted one reveller as a song came to an end. “May the Lord have mercy on your soul” came the answer for the next three minutes. These beautiful, but perfectly serious, joyless songs of Apocalypse rely on the vocals of the guitarist, who screams as convincingly and genuinely as I ever heard. He surely watches the Exorcist every night. No smile or thank you after a song, just a swig of beer and twang-brap-”Wrrrrraugh!” again. Well worth a pilgrimage to get preached at with enough vitriol to fuel a thousand Death Metal acts. All with a dirty, bluesy, bruising Dave Gahan staring you out kind of menace.
Opening the night were Part Dinosaur, who are insanely ambitious and courageous, winning them my coveted “one-to-watch” medal. If you, like me, feel a deep sense of loss at the passing of Youthmovies, perhaps you used to be in Youthmovies or were touched by the music they made, you will want to follow the trajectory of Part Dinosaur. It’s the same approach to rocking out with neglected time signatures, dynamic changes and instruments filling each others’ gaps. I’ll review them properly someday. It wouldn’t be fair now, as they were a man down, and were a little plagued by techie trouble (an out-of-tune guitar moment/a broken monitor failing to guide a vocal part). But I will come back for them, and I know it will be good. A first-rate drummer commands the other fellas through a strangely sensitive landscape of out-of-nowhere jolty emotion. Attention to detail and a very obvious excitable rapture in playing interlocking segments of thrilling musical action define a band that is part dinosaur, part hope, all rock!
Part Of A Dinosaur.
DD/MM/YYYY have many music units available on their site. Part Dinosaur have a 4-track CD on theirs. We pray that Hymns will record themselves properly soon.
All Illustration by Gackland in an inspired and hurried flourish.
Categories ,Battles, ,DD/MM/YYYY, ,Hymns, ,Jesus Christ, ,math rock, ,Part Dinosaur, ,post-rock, ,Tortoise, ,youthmovies, ,zappa
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