, April 28th, 2010 07:23
[180x180Y[<]You forget sometimes how female punk can sound like cocoons cracking open in full fierce sunlight. You forget sometimes that the sound of three women battle-crying in harmony and sketching out urgent, concentrated scuttle-funk miniatures is a sound that needs to be heard, periodically and necessarily. You forget, but luckily Trash Kit don't.
Twenty-seven minutes (but seventeen tracks) in duration, Trash Kit's self-titled debut throws itself at the listener in a flurry of single-note guitar lines, talkative drums, sax blasts, rapid shifts, sweet grooves, abrasive bounce; of yelps, ahs and oh-oh-ohs, and lone reflective voices, too. The trio's exuberance masks a watchful, hyper-sensitive core, in which melodies are used to communicate and negotiate, and where roles are amorphous, non-hierarchical. Rachel Aggs' pointed, highlife-inspired guitar lines are the rhythmic driving force, Electrelane's Ros Murray provides soulful bass as a harmonic counterpoint as much as a marker of time, and Rachel Horwood drums directly inside the melody, letting it guide her – a common enough method in DIY music, but one that here seems to formalise the band's shared language and togetherness. The whooping, faintly ritualistic vocals, passed from voice to voice like a code, are raucous but heartfelt – and again, while call and response is hardly a novelty, the two Rachels' delivery on tracks like 'Sun Spots' has a free-falling quality that makes you care unusually hard about the notes and patterns coming their way, and the ones they're about to throw back.
Trash Kit curtail their songs to almost-snippets and ornamentation is minimal – although a scrawl of violin on 'Tattoo' and guest sax from Verity Susman indicate there could have been more – but you would have to be pretty obtuse to hear Trash Kit as reductionist or limited. The brevity of these vignettes of oddness, sweetness, anger and introspection has more of a diaristic feel, songs and patterns heard and hummed and thoughts scrawled, on buses, at work and in the library. The album ends with the hint of a rolling polyrhythm and a chorus of effected howls that (not for the first time) feels too short, and that hints at where Aggs, Horwood and Murray might aim next if they felt like breaking punk rules and jamming out like Japanese shamans OOIOO, with whom they have as much in common as they do with more obvious reference points like Delta 5, Erase Errata and Kleenex, but these snapshots are sharp like nails and knuckles, alchemical like friendship, and there is always something to be said for an album you can listen to twice before leaving the house.