, October 22nd, 2009 11:33
Warning: This album is very loud. This review may contain shouting.
There's a haphazard aspect to Part Chimp's presentation. The song titles, album title and choice of artwork for their third record all appear to be afterthoughts, selected at the last minute from the objects lying around in their immediate vicinity. This is because all that devious simian brainpower flows into the assembly of monumental backlines and the crafting of shockingly large riffs. Part Chimp are loud. REALLY BLOODY LOUD.
Singer/guitarist Tim Cedar would have us believe that opener 'Trad' began life as a sneering mockery of stoner rock. And certainly, it does have a sun-baked Kyussian swagger to it, a bowl-smoking Nebulan gait. But its sonics are far too aggressive and extreme for that notoriously casual genre. And if you can burrow your way, scrabbly badger-style, through the 15-metre-thick wall of REALLY BLOODY LOUD polychromatic guitar fuzz, there's a yearning vocal in there somewhere, hiding in an old baked bean tin.
Following an opening volley of almost Fripp-esque stereo guitar wibble, 'FFFFF' cascades down upon the increasingly meek listener, a landslide of fast-moving sludge that breaks bones and flushes the pulp down a ravine. Again, it's REALLY BLOODY LOUD - bassy, rich and barbed, razor-edged and wantonly corrosive. But it swings, too…there's a lilt to its step, a relentlessly pounding, ultra-violent lilt, but a lilt nonetheless. A beautiful touch comes at the end, as it speeds up for the briefest of moments, forming an incongrous segue to the spluttering doom trudge of 'Dirty Sun'. This is where Thriller's anthemic qualities begin to surface, a soaring, almost sweetly melodic chorus/mantra rising from the belly of a downtuned pounder.
Just when 'Sweet T' has you thinking it is all full-blast rock action around here, 'Tomorrow Midnite' falls into a deep, terminally sombre funk. People underestimate the emotional range of super-bad-ass-heavy riffs, but this might just be the saddest sound ever. This is what Morphine at their most remorseful and bereft would have sounded like had Mark Sandman been an obsessive Melvins fanboy.
'Super Moody' is the quiet one, forsaking lethal volume for muted misery. It's very lovely, but the Chimp are so outrageously exciting when they are REALLY BLOODY LOUD ALL THE BLOODY TIME that any time at all spent with clean guitars just feels like time spent slowly festering in an airless space. They clearly feel the same way. It's not long before the walls cave in.
The two-part 'Today' oozes into life as a sinister dirge with an early Sabbath feel, possibly because the harmonic interference between the sustained guitar notes and Cedar's intoning eerily recalls a young Ozzy. The second half brings the pain, a scab-encrusted REALLY BLOODY LOUD pummel beneath which Cedar hollers like a man trying to expel his lungs from his chest.
Thriller concludes in the regimented epic mode with the nine-minute 'Starpiss'. The somewhat woozy Jesu-esque beauty in the first few minutes gives way to a giddy climactic assault approximating the sound of a burning tank bouncing on a broken pogo stick.
Though the melodies and vocals are subsumed, Cedar has a knack for a devastating refrain. Unlike, say, Times New Viking, he casts his melodies to the bottom of an impenetrable fuzz ocean not out of arch perversity, but simply because that's where they belong. Everything about Part Chimp screams of an obsession the biggest, harshest, LOUDEST noise that mammals can make with wood, steel and a vast amount of electrical current.
As with Boris or Lightning Bolt, some argue that Part Chimp don't actually have any decent songs, just a great sound. Nonsense! For one thing, this is a false dichotomy, a song being little more than amalgamated sound moments. For another, for this band the sound is the song. Everything else must - and does - remain subservient. The tunes' hooks are almost incidental, merely expedient ways of dragging you down into the glorious, treacly quagmire into which they find themselves sinking so eagerly.