Shitgripper – EP [Make That A Take]

The enthusiastically named Shitgripper come sploshing into the musical latrine with a firm effort.

In lesser reviewer’s hands – hi Mark Commode – such a moniker would be an excuse for an outpouring of puns; luckily your reporter is the high-minded sort so shall avoid such crappery and head straight to the matter in hand… you may read on at your convenience.

 

Alarmingly tagged as ‘Sludgecore’ on Bandcamp – given the name it seems vaguely apt right enough – what we have here is another jolly into the lands of three week long, instrumental, droney post-rock.

It does however rise above its brethren by somehow managing to square the circle of being at once more sullen and menacing than others out there and yet a touch more lively; opener ‘Soft Teeth’ starts all grim and atmospheric before becoming quite jumpy in a morbid way.

Bit portentous, pretentious even, but such is the precociousness of youth.

‘Exhale’ – you certainly wouldn’t want to inhale – is more tuneful and lilting, initially at least, but all that is eventually tossed out the window and we’re sludgecoring all over the shop; right up the walls we are before the melodies creep back in in a welcome coda.

It’s good stuff and there’s a visceral rock power sometimes lacking in bands mining similarly murky shafts; a vivaciousness pervades and these lads sound like they mean it.

When Brando’s Apocalypse Now monologue comes looming into view linking tracks three and four, cliched though it may be, the effect is rather deliciously chilling: one may put that down to Conrad rather than the Grippers but still.

It’s apt as the Heart of Darkness is a welcome presence here and throughout.

Across the EP the lads plant themselves between a few stools, which oddly turns out not to be as horrifying a prospect as might be expected: rather expertly avoids becoming bogged down and overly self-regarding; has a joie de vivre and a bit of spunky exploration about it all.

Their biog lists their home town as Doomdee, which illustrates a certain irreverence that manifests itself on wax.

Decent, very decent.

Words: Andrew Morrison

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