Homo-Genetic Arsonist: F*ck Theory... Just Play, Goddamit
( Unsound Automatic : UACD008 )
Miggy Harries (guitar, vocals), Dafydd Harris (keyboards, guitar), Bill Bargefoot (bass), Rick Dragger (drums), The Jelly-bean King (drums)
"MANUFACTURER'S WARNING", says the insert, "Playing this thing too loud will HURT." It certainly will; if you go to see these guys live, take your earplugs. The intensity of this disc is pretty impressive -- it has the slegehammer white noise of the hardest of industrial techno, complete with eardrum-rupturing high frequencies, and freestyle solos to boot. It also has Miggy Harries.
Miggy Harries is a kid. The claims of the publicity that he's only thirteen are easy to dismiss, but this is straight out of the Live Skull school of raw, unapologetic adolescent rage and there's no question that this kid is the real thing. He's got a puerile sense of humour, a yelling energy and a kind of subversive, up-yours attitude problem which puts him way, way beyond most gangsta rappers in terms of old-fashioned burn-down-the-school naughtiness. There are guys singing about adolescent trauma who now have to worry about their grandchildren's GCSE results; here's someone doing it who hasn't even taken his options yet, and the results are a whole lot less cut-and-dried. On "Disintegrated Cheese", he sounds distinctly like a young Captain Beefheart.
Harries also plays guitar, and is rather good at it. Sure, he's no technician and he's a long way from being comparable with musicians twice or three times his age who are developing a mature voice. He simply can't have heard or played enough music for that. Yet you can hear the musical imagination hard at work in his scalding, untutored solos. He needs time (of which he has plenty) and we have to assume he's serious about playing, but given both of those things he will doubtless become a strong musician with some distinctive ideas.
As for the rest of the band, well, there's a touch of schoolboy incompetence which fits the mood well. Dafydd Harries is a pretty rough-and-ready rhythm guitarist, but a slick chops-obsessed metaller would hardly have been appropriate. He bluffs and stumbles his way through the riffs, pinned down by the very baggy bass and drum partnership (Jelly-Bean King subs for Dragger on four of the seventeen tracks). His keyboard playing, however, is much more inventive, and his contributions to the title track are especially nice, showing an excellent attention to detail, while his work on "Telepathic Communicational Breakdown" is great. I really never thought I'd be saying this about such a calculatedly punky, anti-proper-music disc, but Dafydd Harries might just be a name to watch.
What we have here is a peculiar brand of improvised metal fused with electronica and large dollops of the punk ethos; it ain't pretty, it's not exactly groundbreaking, but there's plenty of fist-in-the-air moments and some more subtle, promising things scattered around. This writer has complained before that some people record too early these days and, if so, this would be a rather extreme example, but Unsound Automatic seem committed to capturing and documenting the more obscure corners of British musical life and this is certainly one of them.