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Slushy Guts
A Host Of Freakish Others Revolving In The Future Melissa Steiner , October 8th, 2013 07:55

The intimacy of this record is what strikes you initially. The rawness of a fractured baritone sung right into your ear as though Slushy Guts' Stephen Keane was there in the room with you all along, is both startling and comforting, the realness encapsulating what is special about DIY music.

A Host Of Freakish Others Revolving In The Future is the second vinyl release from London-based Slushy Guts, put out by Keane's own label Chaos vs Cosmos. A 10”, six tracks long, it is vulnerable and contemplative, experimental and weird; a classic bedroom recording from someone who understands the importance of this.

Mostly a one-man band, here, Keane is joined by Sophie Brown (Woolf, Roseanne Barrr) and Gerry Burgess (Collapse) who use minimal drums, backing vocals and guitar to gently flesh out the deceptively simple emotional layers Keane constructs.

As you may expect, the imperfections and constraints of a no-budget, lo-fi set up are used to full effect, the fuzz and hiss of the equipment (recorded on a broken one track tape machine) producing noise that is disarming in its honesty.

The naivety that such an approach could potentially veer towards is avoided here, aided by the combination of wry humour and a workaday melancholy. “Just drinking, more peaceful than…” is a listless, sad, sweet answerphone message of a song extolling the virtues of drinking over thinking, the disappointment and boredom of love/life. But then there's the click of the “stop” button being pressed on the tape machine, and a helium Mickey Mouse voice completes the song, as if to say “why so serious?”.

Opening (and closing) track 'Alas' is a sorrowful and distorted hymn to the end of a relationship, while “The shape of my face does sometimes change” is just plain heartwreching. Lighter is the bucolic “More days and most times” evoking as it does, the outdoor sounds of wind and birds, the weather report partially heard on a scratchy radio and the line “the wind flaps my ears about, stings my eyes and blows my jowls around”, conjuring up a big floppy dog/man who runs just for the joy of it.

'Wolves In Space/Altruistic Threantropes' abruptly changes the direction, providing some welcome harshness mid way through, the repetitive industrial space bleeps taking a break from the introspection for a while.

Genre-wise, Slushy Guts has always been difficult to classify, and A Host Of Freakish Others… is no exception. Play it on a rainy Sunday afternoon while you're fixing something broken and its beauty and quiet power transcends the need for labels.

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