Smallgang – Sans (Damnably)
Damnably recently released the album ‘Sans’ by Smallgang, Louder Than War’s Adrian Bloxham listens to them bickering their way through a great record.
Smallgang’s Facebook page lists most of their interests as bickering about something or other. Which isn’t too surprising as Sans manages to give the impression of bickering and arguing most of the way through. Disparate musicians seem to vie for attention and attempt to drown each other out. This is proper Alt-Rock, or is it Post-Rock? It might be Post-Punk in places with its juddery staccato riffs and angular melodies. But then it’s more Sonic Youth stylie thrash outs a little bit further on and his voice isn’t much more than a drawl in that song but in that one it’s angry and loud. I’m confused.
Which I feel is pretty much the point. The songs are built on a solid base of drums and bass, and then the guitars pretty much attack you from that base. As you may have gathered it’s a pretty warped listen, they take their influences and use them in an aural disagreement and as such have made a bloody good album. A record to feel angry with and then realise you do actually really like.
Put it on and just lose yourself in their sound. It’ll make your preconceptions about guitar music shatter and fall. They may be based in London but Damnably may as well have signed a group from Mars. The record moves forward at its own pace but doesn’t stop, it’s one for the moments that you are struggling to care, for the times that life makes no sense. It’s a very modern record and as such deserves a listen.
My favourite track is the last one, Sans which builds and builds until it implodes into a ball of guitar noise. Treat yourself.
All words by Adrian Bloxham, you can read more at his author archive here.