Elmo & The Styx ‘I, Idiot’ (Antipop Records)
CD / DL
Liverpool has certainly been responsible for churning out a bewildering array of bands and musicians that just don’t fit with the zeitgeist; as punk broke in 1976 Liverpool accommodated the scenes seminal bands at the now mythical Eric’s venue, hosting early gigs by Siouxsie & The Banshees, Sex Pistols, Ramones, Clash, Buzzcocks – the cities musicians responded, but instead of forming rent-a-punk bands with a formulaic sound the city threw up oddities like Big In Japan, the lite-pyschedelia of the Teardrop Explodes, and the Velvets infused Bunnymen to the leather clad noir of Nightmares In Wax; perhaps this was due to over-riding influence of the cities Probe Records store, where ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ and ‘New Rose’ fought for rack space with Pink Floyd, Beefheart, NEU! And Prince Far-I…
Elmo & The Styx are continuing this fine tradition; a 3pc resolutely beyond simply definition who have cited their influences as wide as NoMeans No, to The Cardiacs and stretched as far as Prince; previous releases include the album ‘Happy’ and their debut ‘Sexy Clowns’ EP both of which certainly had one foot in the more traditional four chord grunge punk camp but with enough angular inventiveness to allow them to mark their own line in the dirt.
‘I, Idiot’ has built upon that aspect, and across this 5-track EP they have developed an uncompromising sound they are calling Thunk – the bastard child of 90’s Grunge coupled with 70’s Punk attitude; thumping funky punk!!
‘Pash’ sounds like The Jetsons having ingested mescaline, all manic energy and underlying menace with a rabble rousing “We Hate Punk!” chorus, a cavernous breakdown pre-empting the sound of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse clog dancing across your face. ‘Green Ink’ rides a neurotic energised noise, an insistent jagged guitar riff gnawing deep into your skull, machine gun drums and dangerously strained vocals.
Howling guitar signifies the arrival of ‘Do You Like Animals’, at under 3mins the shortest track here, and perhaps Elmo’s stab at pop, albeit erratic dangerously twisted pop…’Elephants Place’ takes the Pixies loud and quiet on a journey around a sprung dance-floor, a discordant guitar squall, guttural vocals before the entire swirling mass collapses into a joyous feedback frenzy.
Closing with ‘New Song Old Song’, underpinned with chugging drums, whilst above rages more of Rob Deans splintered guitar complete with delay effects that had me recalling the opening to Evil Blizzards ‘Are You Evil?’ – It’s comfortably unsettling!
With ‘I. Idiot’ Elmo & The Styx are dragging us into their own prog-punk nightmare, the EP is perfectly a constructed collapse of the old and a building of the new, and certainly worthy of your attention.
2. Green Ink
3. Do you Like Animals
4. Elephant’s Palace
5. New Song Old Song