23 Mar 2014

THE BAND FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION - The Band For Disease Control And Prevention

Maria Mackman & Antony Bircham are, they claim in their press release, "solely responsible for the calculated racket" on their splendidly titled band and debut album. The overall sound is a relentless onslaught of thundering drums, spiky punk guitar and yelped vocals. In many ways it harks back to the heady punk days of 1977 but the heart here is completely contemporary. The songs touch on a range of sometimes taboo subjects like mental health, religious hypocrisy,  conflict, despair, truth and self pity.

The albums kicks of with 'Form' that begins with some weird guitar effects that rumble like a thundercrack before Mackman asks us a series of questions and screams "no one knows what I'm really thinking of" while the guitars roar impressively behind her. The songs are, for the most part, short, punchy and sweet and before you know it we are into 'Pert Plastic' with a healthy dose of feedback and a crunching guitar line as Mackman seemingly descends into depression with a spooky, scratchy guitar solo moving things along.

The songs are somewhat similar across the album but this helps to give it coherence and strength. The duo clearly draw influences from a wide spectrum from within the well of punk and elsewhere, you can hear the Sex Pistols, Siouxsie and even a splash of X-Ray Spex (in a good way). This convergence of influences is clearest on 'Self Pity Me' that rides out on a riff that shares it's roots with Led Zeppelin's 'Kashmir' and draws on some Black Sabbath too and there's in a nice borrowed line that I know from somewhere but can't place in "I never want to wait for the storm to pass - I just want to dance in the rain". 

'April of the Fool' initially slows the frantic pace a little but soon has the guitar thrashing away behind  Mackman's chanted scary vocal. The remaining songs thunder along in a high octane way breezing along until we hit the twin peaks of 'Man of God' which is an angry chant of sheer horror with treated vocal and roaring guitars. Too soon we reach the final track and unlike the short and thrilling preceding songs 'Strawberry Day' has a huge epic quality as it rolls across its eight minute duration. It begins with a ghostly synthesiser, stately piano, some scratched guitar and a rumble of drums before the banshee wail of Mackman smashes back in and the layered guitars crank things up to end on a real raucous high point with Mackman screaming "Where Are You Now?" and a  superb blasting riffing coda ending proceedings.

So, it's an impressive debut and a welcome antidote to the anti-septic and anaemic music that seems to surround us today. If you want to hear an album that is stuffed with guts, balls and stomping big riffs then this one is for you.

Words: Greg Johnson 

No comments:

Post a Comment