Put together for a UK tour at the start of 2017, Sillwood matches noxious electroacoustic wrangles with stubborn lumps of no-technique guitar improv in a brace of cuts that illustrate Hardworking Families’ scruffbag aesthetic in just about the finest way possible. Side One, described on the HF Bandcamp as ‘no-input mixer feedback system with tapes and other sounds pushed through it’ starts off in a fairly considered, if high-pressure style, all tense bronchial wheezes and flappy whirrs. But before you can say ‘new Erstwhile release’, it bursts into sloppy, discordant life. Shrill electric whines are a prologue for irksome voltage judders, cutting in and out with the random insouciance of a radio dial carelessly tuned. Not much hope of Radio 4 here, although the gurgling waves of lo-fi dirt are educational in their own way, I guess, but that plummy geezer waffling on about hallucinations is no match for the squeals and hissy bursts that taunt his every utterance.
Side B ups the chaos for an unplugged session of string abuse. While generally I’m getting diminishing returns from this sort of thing, here the sheer dunderheaded glee that Mr. Hardworking Families – who identifies as Tom Bench outside of the matrix – brings to the session ensures a fun time for all. Bench homes in on the ‘eh my three-year old could do that’ tendency in experimental soundmaking, replicating the uninhibited joy of the innocent coming across an instrument for the first time and channelling it into a knockabout disquisition of ground-up noisemaking. Bench possibly brings some additional equipment to bear on his poor axe to enhance the clonkage, the occasional metallic clangs and scrapes adding a tangential Bohman-in-the-rave vibe. Chewy, but toxic if swallowed.