Archie Bronson Outfit
, March 3rd, 2010 06:36
There's an argument to be made about the benefits of low expectation when it comes to explaining Archie Bronson Outfit. Discovered, of sorts, by Domino records founder Laurence Bell after he stumbled across the band performing in his Putney local, the Wiltshire by way of London trio have over the span of two albums slowly gained a small but respectable following among critics and fans.
Debut Fur, produced by Jamie Hince, Kate Moss's current rocker-man arm accessory, showcased a band embracing a blues-rock template that looked beyond the Nuggets' inspired shapes being thrown by every act chasing the White Stripes candy-coloured tails at the time.
Admired but soon forgotten, the polite applause that followed Fur's release left the band with a self-confessed underdog status. With nothing to lose, they pushed their collective foot down with 2006's Derdang Derdang. Injecting kraut grooves and small doses of Spaceman 3 drones into their increasingly muscular blues-rock, the record revealed a band shaking free of the crippling grasp of fashion and the burdensome weight of musical history that smothers so many bands on these shores. The result? More rave reviews and even a South Bank award for breakthrough act. And yet, the applause soon died down, again, with the band relegated to criminally underrated status. Four years on, Archie Bronson Outfit are back with the Tim 'DFA' Goldsworthy produced Coconut.
Once again spurred on by their nothing-left-to-lose attitude, the band return with something bolder, heavier and altogether stranger. With tightly locked, throbbing grooves now bringing up their rear, Coconut finds Archie Bronson blazing a path into the psychedelic bush they began exploring on Derdang Derdang. Opener 'Magnetic Warrior' blasts forth with a heaving wall of chugging fuzz as frontman Sam Windett emits a warbly rallying cry of 'I think I'm ready for more'. 'Wild Strawberries' morphs Hawkwind's sci-fi prog into a turbo-charged burst of psyche-punk, before the Wiltshire boys sneak into The Stooges' Funhouse and knick '1970's' sax bursts for the skronk freak-out of 'You Have a Right To A Mountain Life/One Up On Your Self.'
It's not all furious cosmic assaults on the senses, though. Highlight 'Chunk' concocts a mutant strain of Tom Tom Club funk while the deceptively sweet 'Hunt You Down' is the strangest ode to stalking you'll hear this decade. But even with everything that comes before it, it's closer 'Run Gospel Singer' that leaves a lasting impression. A soul drenched slice of scuzzy Spector-pop, the song brilliantly doubles as a master class in songwriting for the current crop of cassette trading lo-fi acts.
Is Coconut the sound of a band finally surpassing expectation, then? More like a powerful slap in the face by a group of men who have long deserved our lasting attention.