The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website


Aren’t You Gonna Introduce Me To Your Friend? Noel Gardner , September 20th, 2022 07:41

Top notch shithousery on Bristol's Avon Terror Corps, finds Noel Gardner

Their lineup split between Germany and Australia, Concentration combine a nod at sexual transgression with some timeless sardonic vulgarity. Aren’t You Gonna Introduce Me To Your Friend? is their third release, arriving on double vinyl via Bristol label Avon Terror Corps; predecessor I’m Not What I Was, also on ATC, was a delightful EP of noisy queerdo electroclash (I said as much here), but this, five numbers averaging about nine minutes each, is a marked evolution.

A trio of Matt Sativa, Zacariah Kupferminc and the pseudonymous Thrush, plus helpful guests, there is a lot of saxophone on this album (played by James Annesley of Melbourne) and generally lower, sub-dancefloor tempos. It begins with a 13-minute song titled ‘Who Wants To Fuck Me’, which is on brand, but it’s notable how considered this all is, production-wise: it doesn’t coast for any of that runtime, and has some interesting fragment of sound occurring perpetually, without tipping over into an exhausting maximalism. Slurring lounge music with an oddly 90s feel – I thought of Jimi Tenor, or something on the Crippled Dick Hot Wax! label – there are though outbreaks of rocking, and what was once called nu-jazz with a quasi-house beat.

We find layered and processed sax meeting dub-treated percussion on ‘Grün Im Gesicht’; on ‘Sailin’, a drum machine sound that’s 80s-crude enough to jut out in the mix, but still works with the teetering Jenga stack of synth layers and loops of soused warbling. (Every production tic on here sounds sounds it’s been drinking, to paraphrase Tom Waits.) A piano appears through the fog halfway in, with almost no accompaniment, then it builds into uncouth no wave, before deflating with a strange elegance. ‘Gehäutete Bräute’, where Thrush’s vocals are sunk into the mix, has the feel (not necessarily the sound) of Faust or Throbbing Gristle, and on ‘Grün…’, you sense a satire on jazz-club female vocal sultriness that calls back to Lydia Lunch’s Queen Of Siam.

I’m Not What I Was owed a lot to the shouty Aussie vocals and hysterical lyrics of Kupferminc; overall, his presence is more backgrounded than on previous Concentration releases, but ‘Diet Of Worms’, which closes the album, is his time to shine, like the proverbial black hole sun. The person we encountered previously, a provocateur at war with his own Jewishness, has been refined on Aren’t You…, into a guy some call ‘the biggest arsehole you ever met’. It is a performance, of a character – probably best to have that clarity – but the performer succeeds in possessing the character, like Jerry Sadowitz, or Slim Shady-era Eminem.

While the band goes hither and yon, from vaguely Fantomas-redolent prog-metal to jazztronica to no wave of the James Chance ilk (I think the young Chance would relish this shithousery, as it goes) to piano bar crooning, Kupferminc spends nearly all 11 minutes on a self-pitying rant about his own unpopularity, his highly unracist enjoyment of early jazz and his unblemished record of never having sexually harassed anyone so far. A non sequitur diversion into some thoughts on age of consent laws suggest that Concentration are familiar with the wacky world of internet libertarians, but whichever creep is being channeled here, it’s a very funny and good end to a very good and genuinely odd album.