The FREQUENCY-IRELAND Music Alternative

An independent voice on choice sounds from the alternative/underground music scene in Ireland.
- Get latest news, reviews & releases at the main label website: [FREQUENCY].

Saturday, January 06, 2007

(retards) - sex is a weapon

Dublin experimental hardcore band (retards) released their debut album 'sex is a weapon' back in 2004. I've been giving it a revisit this past week after it arrived on my doorstep. I must say, I've found it a challenging listen.

A disturbing intro monologue leads off with 'dear diary...'. It's taken from an 80's horror b-movie, and aptly sets the tone. The first track proper 'no! no! dear friend' continues the journey inward. To sparse beats which gradually grow somewhere towards propulsion before fade-out, we're treated to a voice over reflecting thoughts of disgust at how fucked up the world is and how fucked up one is being part of it. This is followed by a more typically crass 'under sixteen whores', and a few more aimless tracks before picking up again with two definitively deranged tracks in 'michael caine' and 'chinese girl in my trunk', both of which remind me quite a bit of early Therapy (ala teethgrinder era), especially the latter. We then reach the gem of the album in 'he put something in my drink' - this one is rather different from anything else on the album. It's delicate electroncia, fey and melodic. It also boasts a superb video which comes as a bonus on the album. The video can be found now on the Frequency-Ireland myspace. Watch it. It's quite brilliant.

Following on, 'the immaculate anus' has rhythms which remind me a lot of Aisha, the Death In Vegas track, but with feint pitched vocals sifting around in its shadows instead of Iggy's dominating dark vocals. Skipping over a crass and uninspired 'stuck in my head', we come to 'syndrome', with helium vocals which sound decidedly evil, and something perhaps a bit Aphex Twin about it. Next up, 'dead balloons' has a superb train-like rhythm through it which drives it on, combined with haunting wails, electronica feedback and an atypical voice-over, but the penultimate track, a lyrical turn on The Crystals song 'and then he kissed me' is the more excellent, which quite brilliantly changes the mood of that song into one of fear. After this, the album dips again to tail off rather poorly, but overall, this is a very worthwhile album, albeit an inconsistent one. There's more than enough moments of ingenuity here to ride out the more mundane crassness.

More recently Rimbaud Records released (retards) latest 7" EP 'kicking against the micks' in December of last year, which to the best of my knowledge is (retards) fifth release now. Of this EP, opening track 'will drum for food', which can be streamed from their myspace, is decidedly hardcore-punk, an angry and disturbed track built around rhythm rather than melody. I find 'x equals one', currently streamable from the Rimbaud Records space more interesting - its a derangely unfocused noise meandering, but give it a few listens and it has a real messed-about appeal. The EP also includes a reworking of 'michael caine' from the 'sex is a weapon' debut and another uncompromising track in ‘string theory will collapse’. I'd probably stop short of recommending buying up the (retards) back catalogue, if one could get their hands on them, that is - all releases have been rather limited edition releases - but a release capturing the best of their material to date could be quite a mouth watering prospect if it ever transpired.

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