Warmduscher – Khaki Tears (Trashmouth Records)
LP (CD insert)/ DL
The offspring of a match made in hell between Fat White Family and Paranoid London, Warmduscher bring us their shambolic finery in album form for the first time.
Having already bought the Trashmouth Records compilation ‘Thinking of Moving to Hastings’ purely to get my hands on a copy of ‘The Salamander’ by Warmduscher, it was a given that this was one of the album releases I craved this year. The aforementioned compilation had given me ‘Uncle Sleepover’ and ‘Lady Eggs’ in addition to ‘The Salamander’ (as well as some excellent music by other artists, but that’s another story), so I couldn’t wait to hear what else this dangerous band could bring to the table.
There is another-worldliness about the music here, echoes of the past reflecting the present. The khaki in question is Vietnam khaki, the stench of jungle sweat and napalm signalling the dissolution of the American dream into a nightmare.
Johnny’s Blue Khaki starts bass-heavy with a topping of frantic guitars, setting the mood for the album as a whole. The drums drive the track, Clams Baker’s vocals barely discernible whispers and phrases until the tempo drops and we hear a request for its return. It’s a great track, fractured rock and roll at its best.
The Salamander has a shambolic quality. Slower than its predecessor, but no less impressive, this track has been thrilling me since it dropped onto my social media feeds. The anguished screams and slightly discordant single note keyboards that sound like a cow bell (or just a cow bell, I’m not sure) add to the unease.
Uncle Sleepover is a more structured track, the vocals bringing the suppressed horror that permeates the album as a whole forward. The keyboard input is much stronger here, the usual bombastic guitars and drums taking more of a back seat. The anguished screams giving a look into the psyche of repression.
The vocals continue to drive the madness on Yolk Buns U.S.A., the same tormented shrieks permeating the track like a disease, pulling the paired down but suitably excellent music along with them.
Lady Eggs has a carnival feel, more freak show than big dipper, though. The barely discernible vocals build to the dirge-like repetition of the title. The track as a whole has an atmosphere of menace.
Roger’s Gills is nightmare poetry and psychedelia. The track has a slightly unreal air, the music of near-sleep where fragments of sound and words float through your brain in a barely fathomable stream.
The louche rhythm of Everybody Loves an Honest Woman topped with the high pitched vocal content bring this short offering a dissolute air. Probably my least favourite track, but still a good, if not great, contribution to the album.
Oscar Wild is a great track. Paired down Rock and Roll starting with a classic ‘Saulcano’ riff and fine ‘Lightnin’’ Jack Everett drumming. I love the energy here, but then I’d be hard pressed to find a track I really dislike.
Again Hair Tongue takes us deep down and dirty. The finest of filth. The live experience captured, making me envious of those able to see this band when they manage to fit in gigs around their other commitments.
Gold Teeth was my favourite track on the album for quite a while, but I’m a changeable beast and that award might now go to Oscar Wild or Hair Tongue, however I was quick to see the merit in the spaced-out majesty of this track. A suitable finish to a perfect storm of an album. There are no bad tracks, and the cloudy skies here rain musical drops of pure gold. For those who don’t like their music to sound over-engineered, this is a must-have addition to the record collection. As albums go, it was my choice in the Louder Than War top albums of the year so far. I’m pretty sure a hell of a lot of people thinks so too.
All words by Roxy Gillespie. More writing on Louder Than War can be found at her author’s archive.