Selfish Cunt / An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump
Cardiff Barfly, 03/12/08

Auspicious this is not. Gig late starting, two bands fewer than advertised and a pound extra on the door, venue dank and shitty of sound quality, crowd sparse and grumbling. Luckily, the trio of glowering beauties/Furies who make up An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump are not letting that faze them tonight. Lo-fi, low-tech and guitar-free (though they've sometimes got two basses onstage), they tap into something throbbing and primordial, marrying the best bits of PJ Harvey, the Banshees and a pounding headache. Vocals ring with cut-glass contempt over basic-but-relentless rhythms, their set never faltering even though they change instruments every song, and you never ever want it to end.

Pic - marixxhorrorshow

If you've read anything about Selfish Cunt recently, it's probably advised you to look past the shameless publicity-stunts, rucking with Pete Doherty however many years ago it was and all of that, and just listen to what a progression they've made with their music. This, patently, is bollocks. Ridiculous, theatrical, bratty, obnoxious… yeah, that's what I want in a band. There's no thrill in trainer-gazing and Talking About The Music, Man. No, I want bands like this, thrashing at their instruments in possessed-by-the-spirit-of-Animal fashion, slashes of razorwire guitar and drums skittering like rats on the run, shrieking and writhing round on the floor and the whole thing so gloriously unstable it seems it might descend into actual chaos in an instant. For all the layers of irony in their lyrics, there's obviously something real and violent driving them; it's the sort of performance that doesn't just make you want to go home and pay actual money for their music and listen to it on repeat, but grab a pen or a guitar or a laptop and create something that's a tenth as good yourself. A miserable Wednesday night in Cardiff, and it feels like the end of days. Might just be my gig of the year.

Jess Trash