Monday, 9 October 2017

Couch Slut - Contempt


Tracklist:

1. Funeral Dyke
2. Company Picnic With Dust Off
3. Penalty Scar
4. Snake In The Grass
5. Summer Smiles
6. Folk Song
7. Won't Come

It's not often nowadays that a band name actually makes you sit up and take notice. They're either nothing you haven't seen (or read) before or the band is trying too hard to shock and as a result they are completely the opposite. Couch Slut is definitely a name that you'll remember and the band are very real. Their first album "My Life As A Woman" (graphic/topical cover and all) was released in October 2014 via Handshake Inc. They've now returned with this second album, which was released via Gilead Media in July. Their uncompromising noise-rock has seen them sharing live slots with the likes of Pyrrhon, Vanum & Yautja in the US of late too, so there's no point in trying to nail them to any genre cross.

There’s little time to sit and ponder Couch Slut’s direction or influences when opener Funeral Dyke springs into feedback-ridden action. It’s off-kilter, melodic, progressive, angry and a whole host of other things. The intense vocals sit perfectly against the backdrop of curiously upbeat instrumentation, which sets them apart from their peers. There’s a pained delivery of those vocals during Company Picnic With Dust Off, which is gut-wrenching and very emotive. The music reminds me of a sinister crossbreeding of QOTSA and Foo Fighters (I know that’s a strange comparison to make, especially as those two bands are very much intertwined anyway). Maybe you’ll get where I’m coming from with that, but maybe you won’t. It’s that mix of mid-paced groove and fuzzed-out rock, with occasional spazziness (if I’m allowed to say that!) that makes it great. 

There’s even more catchiness on Penalty Scar that seems to exist through the murky extremities of both the subject matter and the heavy musical textures. If you’re looking for a band that’s content with not testing your mental strength then you’re in the wrong place. As Couch Slut progresses through “Contempt”, their sound becomes darker and slower. Snake In The Grass mixes in elements of sludge and more familiar progressive touches. Aside from that, the song-writing steps up with some really memorable and punk-like guitar alongside the engaging percussion and those harsh screams. Something tells me that Summer Smiles isn’t going to be about sunshine and bunny rabbits, if the screeching feedback in the intro passage is anything to go by. It’s harrowing but the drumming and bass helps make it less so. Instrumental build-ups like this always lure you in to a false sense of security and it’s definitely the case here, as Megan Osztrosits reaches a terrifying plane and the rest of the band members do their best to keep up, with some of the most crazed instrumentation on the whole of the record. 

The slothenly Folk Song feels like a momentary breath of calm after Summer Smiles. That feeling of odd serenity lasts about as long as that sentence though and before you can blink, you’re brain and sense are being put through rendition again. I think that’s kind of the point with this album, as it’s supposed to reflect the ills of modern life and while your life may not be as difficult as the songs here portray, it doesn’t take long to imagine it being so. Album closer Won’t Come hammers the final nail into your already battered head in the same vein as the song it follows. The clean vocals towards the end of the song show a subtly more sensitive side to Couch Slut. It’s not forced and they don’t over-try. That’s the point of this album for me, it’s honesty and the unapologetic way in which it’s thrown at you. Heavy music isn’t all Neanderthals and fantasy rubbish. Sometimes it’s very genuine and socially aware. This is one of those times. 

You can stream "Contempt" and but both digitally and on vinyl via Gilead Media here:-



Couch Slut - https://www.facebook.com/couchslut/
Gilead Media - https://www.facebook.com/gileadmedia/

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