The ingredients are simple, but the recipe is a smash. Fast Edit is a real tri-Michelin starred affair of an album; guitarist Finlay Clark noodles Sharrock-style sparingly, whilst drummer David Kennedy hams staggering marches, and singer Jessica Hickie-Kallenbach fills effortless space with her Carolina Reaper-vocal drones. As this trifecta of sonic ideas simmer in harmonic discordance, therein stews a red-hot dish of sufficient potency to fissure anyone’s skull. Therein exists the indomitable Still House Plants.
On Fast Edit, the red-eyed trio’s music is pervaded by an unflinching jaggedness, that has admittedly been omnipresent since their mid-2010s Glasgow art school inception. Not simply a rustic whole with cracks and chasms running through it, no: Still House Plants’ music is the cracks and chasms, leaving eternal scars on anyone that happens to stumble into its path. Their discordant, twisted brand of art-rock is entirely novel as it malfunctions joyfully over Fast Edit’s runtime.
Within sixty seconds of the album’s opening salvo ‘Pleasures’, the group’s splintered malignance is in full fury. Hickie-Kallenbach’s rich voice belts out unintelligible lyrics arrestingly, swamping the entire sonic field with her timbre, whilst Clark’s guitar splices a ‘perfectly good’ blues rock riff into something unheimlich. Something special is going on here, but as the group tumbles over itself, entangling itself chaotically with every movement, it’s hard to put your finger exactly what that ‘something’ is.
Still House Plants’ music is hard to ever really pin down; mutated grooves and fluid struts give it the illusion of familiar structure, but at the heart of their sound is something deeply difficult to decipher. Strangely though, this only adds to the power at the core of the Glasgow group.
Fast Edit is an album packed with a real ambiguity ambiguity that unveils more and more with each listen; be that the darkness ‘neath the wilted college rock exterior on ‘Crreeaasse’, or the euphoria of flickering skit ‘Choppy Nice’, Still House Plants have cultivated something here that demands your attention constantly. Jagged ad infinitum, generally cold and occasionally mildly upsetting, but throughout runs an intoxicating joy as the players meander freely alongside each other, dizzying stumbles and fumbles in tow. An outstanding second record by a real ace band.
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