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Housewives
Housewives Simon Jay Catling , January 13th, 2014 05:48

The enforced minimalism of lo-fi dictates that really it should be a creative pit of finite depth; yet there remains something irresistibly alluring in the sound of artists - be it through aesthetic desire or enforced circumstance - packing all their melodies, dynamic and structural deviances into suffocating tight-fitting raw production. It's the thrill of the conflict: maximal ambition versus minimal resources and the promise of finding the sweet spot somewhere amidst the hissing dissonance and crackling decay of it all.

Brighton's Faux Discx Records seem to have a knack of finding artists who can do just that. Though only a part of their back catalogue and certainly not a style they wish to be pigeonholed by, many artists on their roster past and present have shared a passion in confronting melody with noise within their stylistic variations. It's no surprise to find a split 7" release featuring the great Calgary drone-pop constructionists Women among their canon, nor Patrick Floegel's subsequent work as Androgynous Mind. Vision Fortune's bewitching drone rock record Mas Fiesta con el grupo Vision Fortune also came out on Faux Discx last year, and it's that band's Alex Peru who takes on production duties on the latest release out on the DIY label's roster, the somewhat bewitching self-titled Housewives.

There's not too much information floating about surrounding the South Londoners, though the press gambit goes that they cite Luigi Russolo, Steve Reich and Phillip Glass among their sphere of influence. It's certainly true that there is method behind the abrasion of their five debut cuts on this opening EP (available physically on cassette, of course.) Following the bleak, malevolent stop-start of opening track of 'Poppy,' the complexities of Housewives' sound rear themselves in the intertwining patterns and intermittent stabbing that punctuates 'In Camera,' and the quite brilliant 'Medicine Bottle.' The latter recalls lost no-wavers The Units, but re-appropriates their juddering synth-based predilections back onto guitar, making them simultaneously intricate and fiercely direct. The former is a similar foray down a jagged, twisting path to 'Poppy,' all false starts and sharp turns in and out of the blackness of the surrounding silence. Each return pours forth with further unbridled menace, serrated riffs cutting and gnawing into each other, each repetitive cycle leaving a pile-up of distorted detritus behind it.

Those first three songs are delivered in breathless, three-minute or so fashion, before the group allow themselves to unpack slightly their claustrophobic intersections. 'Almost Anything's' industrial repetition starts to chunter and break down like an old machine, before transfiguring into a slower, aural representation of pulleys and wheels, clunking and clattering as barely decipherable disaffections are half-shouted half-mumbled over the top. The EP finishes with '62426,' a multi-segmented five-minute mindfuck that in-part encompasses all that's gone before, but adds an even harder, metallic edge to the band's broodiness; the group change between Dischord punk hooks to savage repeating motifs and noise assaults at variously jarring flicks of a switch. It isn't a particularly comfortable listen, but then it isn't intended to be. Housewives heads not just towards the ears, but to the pit of the stomach, its churning energy hitting with a mighty physicality, while all the while trying to break free of its smothering surroundings – something that, on this gripping debut, makes for a perfectly inharmonious balance.

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