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Featuring members of Mugstar, Bonnacons of Doom, Dethscalator, Earth, and who knows how many other projects from the UK underground and beyond, Sex Swing’s second LP Type II sees the ragtag supergroup inject renewed looseness to the psychedelic noise rock of their 2016 debut.
That crucial distance of four-odd years is clear from the offset. Sex Swing failed to carry much dynamic variation, but it isn’t long until the ominous near-silence of Type II’s opener ‘The Passover’ is shattered by a battering ram from a band apparently in medias res on a squalling jam (adjust headphone volume accordingly, dear reader). Where jump scares are supposed to provide catharsis, Sex Swing sustain a volatile intensity across Type II that only instills the fear of more shocks just around the corner.
Musical vamps are owed their due as much as ever for accommodating such a hostile atmosphere, but the economy of sound on ‘Skimmington Ride’ and ‘Valentine’s Day at the Gym’ keep things heightened — the former mostly vibing off a spare, dissonant two-note phrase; the latter obversely remaining full-bodied and viscous throughout — hinting at maturity in improved musicianship, something often overlooked in something this elemental. The vital saxophone work of Colin Webster consistently irritates the side of every groove with underlying malignancy, while Dan Chandler’s vocal delivery becomes another instrument, straddling the legible and illegible, turning refrains like “I don’t like to wear the make-up” into pre-lingual chants. Haunted as groups who favour mystic repetition are by comparisons to krautrock, ‘Garden of Eden – 2000 AD’ benefits from sounding like a vicious rendition of La Düsseldorf’s ‘Düsseldorf’ as performed by Hey Colossus.
Order and chaos rule Type II, and Sex Swing would’ve made a far less engaging LP had they allowed one to supersede the other. It takes remarkable tact to have such opposing forces play together so amicably.
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This month’s disc is from Detroit punk band Protomartyr