German DIY punk label Erste Theke Tontraeger have touted some excellent bands over the years – Warm Bodies, Woodboot, Pretty Hurts, Lumpy & the Dumpers, Vanna Inget, The Gotobeds… As you can see they scour the world in order to scour your brains. Yet it’s hard to believe that they haven’t gone with a UK act…until now.
Slumb Party are a newish post-punk party machine from Nottingham and have wasted no time in thrashing out their brand of dance psychosis to the populace, securing support slots for the likes of Sleaford Mods, Thee Oh Sees, Priests, The World, Cheena, Shame, and God Is My Co-Pilot in their first year alone. This five track taster is a sonic burst of precocious art-punk deconstruction with shattered edges and a devilish twinkle in the eye.
It all kicks off on “Accident.” The deranged howls of Joey B are delivered with spit-flecked and white-of-the-eyes fanaticism, reminiscent of Bryan Ferry if electrified and cross-channelled into a Nation of Ulysses video. His off-kilter vocal excursions are heightened by the chants coming from bassist Dom O. Blivion and drummer Jess S, while Nat’s sax lends a hookworm that evokes hedonism with every note. The sharp-edge guitar work from Phil Booth-mo keeps things tight and jagged, but the shouty refrain “said it was an accident” becomes a fist-pumping, gurning, beer-swilling mantra.
The party leaves the stage for “Disappointment,” but the track doesn’t mirror its namesake; instead offering a darker, punchier post-punk totality that is more in line with the Wire’s and Gang of Four’s of the 80s golden era. The sax here sounds more like a warning clarion rather than a revelry kickstarter, and Bell’s anguished bark takes a headier, paranoiac hue thanks to sharp guitar, metronomic drums and some basswork that feels unearthed from a Leeds basement circa ’78.
But in the main Slumb Party is a party band with barbed-wire susurrations. “True Crime Club” is “Disappointment” with The Jam level theatrics and overwrought annunciation (“you keep on calling me/ you keep ignoring me/ oo oo oo”). Closer “Symptoms” is a deranged triptych – a short broken guitar intro, a sultry chanteuse vocal middle, and a noise meltdown close – all at 34 seconds and all.
But it’s the middle track on the B-side, “Questions,” which truly encapsulates the two sides of the same scuffed coin here. There is the vocal gymnastics, rally cry choral chants and the skronk sax of “Accident,” while the clanging riffs of the guitar lines and Joey’s lyrical content keeps things vital. It’s raw, energising, eviscerating and oh so essential.
Slumb Party have a full length on the way through UK label Drunken Sailor later in the year. That group house the likes of Downtown Boys, Fist City and TV Crime releases so you know what else to expect. Or maybe you don’t – word on the street is that the glam is creeping ever closer to the nucleus of the five piece, with Dexys Midnight Runners, Talking Heads and Devo all bandied around as direct references. Prepare for the disco carnage to continue unabated with this inimitably exciting band in the second half of 2018.
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