Sly & The Family Drone + Dead Neanderthals: Molar Wrench

molar wrench

Hominid Sounds vinyl and download

This text was prepared originally as part of the press release for the launch of Molar Wrench.


Serendipity does exist. Let me tell you why.

December 2014: Dead Neanderthals and Colin Webster gather at the Vortex jazz club to perform Prime, their 40-minute slice of free-jazz grind, a record that has been charring my lobes for a good few months already. But experiencing it live is a whole other kettle of napalm. No chords, no changes, no free improv jitter, the directive for Prime runs thus: do one thing, for as long as you can, as hard as you can. And for nearly three quarters of an hour, René Aquarius, Colin Webster and Otto Kokke do that, spitting fire and blood in sufficient scale to reduce everything in their path to a scorched earth impasto. The trio are tough and gnarly, sure – but Aquarius is a revelation. Refusing to conform to any jazz drummer stereotype of clever timekeeping, he barrels through the mid-range like the giant rolling boulder in the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Afterwards, synapses still fizzing, I think: if they had some real low-rider whoomf to match their skin-flaying attack? That would really fuck things up.

August 2015: On a sweltering summer evening, Sly and the Family Drone bring their sweat-soaked carnival of chaos to east London. The group’s full-bleed white-noise provocation, fueled by tabletops of wired-up stomp-boxes mewling muddy gusts of noise and tribal flurries of floor-tom bashing, soon becomes a shared bacchanal of (nearly) naked amp jumping and eardrum-violating cacophonic garble. The high point comes near to the end, when a gaggle of Drone-friends and fellow travelers, equipped with saxophones and trumpets, burst through the gurning crowds to add their voices to the grotesque chorale. More dada theatre than nicely-mixed musical integration, this euphoric moment prompts the thought: What if they had saxophones for real? That would really fuck things up.

In fact, Dead Neanderthals and Sly and the Family Drone have such complementary skill-sets that it was only a matter of time before they realized that a joint assault upon the world was not only desirable, it was a necessity. Working towards similar ends – ripping holes in the space-time continuum via bloody-minded mongrel noise – these two crews lock together like the pieces of a dank Lego sculpture from an upside-down dimension. That split 7-inch released at the arse-end of last summer was merely a dress rehearsal for a dread-baked coming together, whose slimy caresses birthed the noxious blurt that is Molar Wrench.

Serendipity happens. I’ve seen it.

You might think that putting two outfits notorious for their full-spectrum aural overload together would lessen each band’s singular power – after all, both do what they do pretty well. Why change anything? But, as the first strangulated moments of Ghoul Whispers screech out in a toxic cloud of hellish vapours, it’s immediately clear that Matt Cargill, Colin Webster, Otto Kokke, Callum Joshua Buckland and René Aquarius have found a way to splice together their constituent genomic elements to create to a new and improved hybrid: stronger, uglier, more abrasive than before. The altissimo yodel of a kettle in the throes of an orgasmic death dance meets the earthmover heave of a planet-wide tectonic shift. Access all areas. Hulk smash.

But the squad are far too canny to drop into cookie-cutter carnage. With Molar Wrench, you get a charmingly variegated spray of gook, each of its four tracks playing to different nodes on the pullulating organism of the integrated DN/SFD body. If Ghoul Whispers echoes Prime in its rollicking belch, Muck Man Part 1 lays waste with a trademark SFD Godzilla lurch, a scarified Yang to its predecessor’s Yin. The latter half of the record is even better, achieving a coagulated power that’s truly more than the sum of its parts. As tough as concrete yet as cold as the furthest reaches of deep space, these two cuts – Muck Man 2 and the title track – reverberate with the Heliocentric power of Sun Ra at his most cosmic with the building shattering heaviness of a Japanese noise-god. The result is sonic impurity in its most gut-mangling form.

Serendipity works. The beast is born.





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