, December 5th, 2012 10:18
My first experience of Glasgow-based noise unit Divorce was always going to be unforgettable, considering that they nearly made my fiancé’s neck explode. Blasting out within the narrow confines of Nation of Shopkeepers in Leeds, their performance was so witheringly intense that people made a hasty retreat to the furthest corners of the bar in sheer terror. And it is precisely this overwhelming, violent noise that has been distilled onto the band’s first full-length release.
Beginning with the wiry dirge 'Cunts in A Circle', the album is a crazed assemblage of high velocity attack and subterranean drool. The first side is with eviscerating tracks that are ablaze with a malign energy, brutally harnessed by the group’s unsparing arrangements. Vickie McDonald’s nightmare guitar sound lurches and tears through 'Snob Value' and 'Pencils Giant Pencils', alternately acidic and oblique. It melds perfectly with VSO’s churning, otherworldly bass fuzz, a hulking presence that resolutely pins down every iota of low end.
But this is not to deny the group’s more nuanced abilities. The brilliantly-named 'Aids of Space' is a disarmingly supple slice of atonal rock, held in place by Andy Brown’s precision drum work and a snub-nosed riff that could have come straight out of their avowed heroes Arab On Radar’s demonic catalogue. Divorce are one of only a handful of British groups who have fully absorbed the influence of Providence RI’s meanest, whilst at the same time forging their own formidable identity.
And there is one area in particular where they give Eric 'Mr Pottymouth' Paul more than a run for his money. Singer Jennie Fulk is without question one of the most fearsome female vocalists of recent times. Her ectoplasmic shrieks and dishevelled mewling place her alongside the likes of Kelly Canary of Dickless and Katie Jane Garside of Queen Adreena in the pantheon of truly frightening underground frontwomen.
This not-so-secret vocal weapon is given all the room she needs on the album’s second and most nightmarish side. The group indulges in some Melvins-style sludge on 'Dreg Leg', a monstrous downer with a flesh-eating riff as well as some experimental flourish on 'Stabb (Stabby) Stab', distinguished by some vivid saxophone blurt from guest contributor James Swinburne. Every track is slathered judiciously in Fulk’s atavistic hectoring.
Divorce are a group that was made for vinyl. If this album was to be inflicted on a dance floor a hell mouth would open. Their invasive noise rock is an adrenaline shot laced with strychnine.