Marling Calling…
Chris Marling gnashes and wails into the abyss

Billy No Mates - We Are Legion (10past12, album)
Duncan Snuff has made an album, and its Snuff without the funny bits. We Are Legion thereby loses much of its charm, but there is definitely a place for it - its easy to forget Snuff are more than just shits and giggles, being a fucking cracking band behind the humour, and this proves it. He could do with ripping out of the blocks a bit more, as it plods in places and gets a bit too over layered - especially the harmonies, but the guitars too. Having said that, there's some cracking tunes on here that wouldn't be out of place on Snuff Said… so it's well worth a punt.

The Mountain Goats - The Sunset Tree (4AD, album)
These guys tend to blow hot and cold, but bloody hell, this is fucking superb. Its specky twat intelligent indie but the lyrics are so spot on it hurts. There's handclaps, pianos, strummed guitars - all that stuff - but if you have one bit of love for a poetic lyric, sod what it sounds like - just buy this album. I don't care if its Morrissey, Trent Reznor, Streets, whatever. If a lyric grabs you, grab this. You won't be disappointed. I'm not going to quote any, as that's a personal thing, but if you don't find something on The Sunset Tree that makes you smile, or think, or weep, or laugh, you're already dead. Pure poetry. And the music is superb too. Beautiful.

Washington - A New Order Rising (Glitterhouse, album)
After producing the all-conquering St Thomas it seems Norwegian music is on a (rock 'n') role, as here's another gem. There's something of the mighty Sixteen Horsepower in the Washington sound, plus some Coldplay, The Doors and Radiohead in the vocals. The slide guitar sound gives a lazy, mellow country feel to proceedings but its captivating, not boring (like Coldplay). Rune Simonsen's voice is haunting, spiritual and beautiful, while the music is melancholy, yet triumphant. The church organ intro to first track Black Wine and the subsequent opening lines are still giving me goose bumps.

Corporation:Blend - Chapter of Accidents EP (Angry Liberal, single)
This is more interesting. While there's a bit too much underlying Darkness/Queen going on for my liking, Corporation:Blend make a pleasing pop racket. Makes me think of The Bigger the God a bit, but there's also some Muse in their, and all sorts of other things. Also they provided a badge with the CD, which is always a winner - thanks! Apparently they're part of all sorts of interesting things too, like "the anti-scene rock revolution" (sounds a bit wanky, doesn't it? I presume someone at NME made it up) and various internet shenanigans. Check 'em out at

Horace X - Strategy (Maha, album)
More proof, if any were needed, that Horace X are predominantly a live experience. Hard to tell this from the last one really, with funky dance beats and ragga toasting complimented by a variety of folky instruments played over the top. Perfect for pill-popping mud-covered shenanigans at Glastonbury but it soon gets samey on CD. They seem to have been ploughing the same furrow for a while now too, and Strategy is definitely the sound of a band resting on their individually talented laurels.

The Shivers - Sleepy Bye Bye
Early Stones in spades is no bad thing, as The Shivers prove with consummate ease. Dirty bluesy rock with a Jagger swagger and that's that - simple but very, very effective. Their playing a lot locally at the moment (well, locally if you're in East Anglia) and are well worth checking out.

The Grates - The Ouch. The Touch EP (Captains of Industry, single)
Three-piece Aussie outfit doing a kick-ass job of picking up the White Stripes baton after they dropped it (badly) on the unutterably shite Get Behind me Satan. It's the same formula but with female vocals, so think Sleater-Kinney riot grrl rock with a garage edge. Lead track Message is a belter, fast and frenetic with plenty of pop nous, and last track Trampoline is a cracking, shambolic, John Spencer-ish romp.

Cortez - Ashtray Heart (NRoneRecords, single)
Old school, along the lines of Joy Division and Echo and the Bunnymen, Cortez are dark and brooding but a little more aggressive, with layers of droning sound creating a pretty good racket. Nothing to write home about though.

Chris Marling

The full and unedited version of these reviews is due to be appearing in issue 23 of R*E*P*E*A*T sometime this century.

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