Fiddlers On The Doof: Decius Vol.1

Lias Saoudi, Fats McCourt, Maggie The Cat and Douglas Lucas join the brothers May for a sordid mandisco manifesto

Decius by Liam May

Decius Vol. 1 is the album I wish I had to hand back when I was – let’s not sugarcoat this, my mum doesn’t read The Quietus – a tramp. The now long-lost era where I’d put the cheery responsible day-job me aside for a few hours to traipse to a dingy club across town where whoever you were – solicitors, truckers, civil servants, John Lewis members – was democratised by what you were wearing, where the zips were and what you wanted to do in it. Where a hoof of amyl allowed access and excess in pissy cubicles or bent over an oil barrel, and the sort of badly lit backrooms when London was the envy of Berlin with secretive places that are now consigned to history in favour of supermarkets, flats or fucking climbing centres.

That’s not to say it’s a gay or straight or even just a sex album. That’s just me. Maybe that’s you too. To say that this would sound ideal while taking a fist might make you cough on your sourdough. It also works on a swift commute, putting a kink in your step as you head home from the station. The purpose of art is to reflect something back that you recognise in it, is it not? Well, Decius Vol.1 makes me feel like that. That it sounds perfect in dank basements, large inhuman cavernous cathedrals of dance, or some shitty £5 headphones proves it works. Vol.1 is for both the big rooms and the dark rooms.

Lias Saoudi sings in an ecstatic falsetto throughout, sexually sexless with an ambiguity that sets the tone perfectly, making lines like “I’ve got a front door / I got keys in my pocket” feel like the ecstatic blank poetry of acid house. An underrated vocalist who can seduce with a menacing scowl on Fat White Family numbers like ‘Touch The Leather’ and ‘Feet’, I feel we should celebrate Lias more. He’s managed to radiate an anti-star star quality over the last decade. In a world starved of the wonky and riddled with relatability, he shines confrontationally with the Fat Whites, parades like a Nice Price Ziggy Stardust on benefits in Moonlandingz, he’s also a brilliant writer and author of one of the greatest music books of recent times.

Decius is the realm he roams with grotty élan, sleazy needs and a pervert panache. Trilling like a cumdump chanteuse, a ribald and rabid ringleader singing falsetto with a hard-on. Lias’ Decius ‘character’ was born from a dancefloor epiphany at Berghain, where everyone is their own frontperson. The evolution of the original acid house ideal where the star system was broken down by the need to bum off to a disused field somewhere and just fucking have it, and where escape from life’s ongoing shitfest is never more needed.

Decius themselves, brothers Luke and Liam May of Trashmouth Records (formerly of Medicine 8 whose Iron Stylings album from 2002 was a level of incredible that few have even been bothered to beat and I may be one of the 56 people who actually bought it) are also the kingpins of the galaxy of connected miscreants that includes the Fat Whites (they’ve produced all their albums to date), Paranoid London, Warmduscher and Sworn Virgins (of which fourth Decius, Quinn Whalley divides his time between – he might even get some sleep in occasionally) and more. They’ve gradually seeped into my disco crosshairs after first hearing their track ‘Paradise’, which sounded like Inner City in an unlicensed cab and clawed into my head ever since. Most of the tracks here have been stuff that I’ve increasingly hit the ‘buy’ button on in recent years, such as ‘Macbeth’, ‘Bread & Butter’, ‘Bitch Tracker II’, ‘Come To Me Villa’, ‘Masculine Encounter’ and ‘Ain’t No Church’, and along with tracks by the turns named above, I’ve DJed out or lost my shit to at the likes of ‘Duckie’.

The entire album is a highlight of highlights. Butch and dirty bastards such as the superb ‘Roberto’s Tumescence’, which is built around a sample of Trans Volta’s amazing ‘Disco Computer’. Then there’s ‘Walk Like A Man’, a single of the year in my world at least, sounds like a triumphant fag-in-mouth morning-after strut rather than a walk of shame. Alongside Lias, there’s Fats McCourt, Maggie The Cat and Douglas Lucas all chipping in to give the amyl acid, cum-as-lube Suicide beef additional flavour. The overall sound is like a solid, enhancing hoof of room odouriser taking you into a better, sexier, filthier and more heightened state where the blood rushes and your vision blurs.

I honestly can’t rave about this album enough. Maybe I’m just an old poof who enjoys the sound of punishing doof and voices that throw themselves with abandon into being so lost, in thrall to the music, and that channels the bacchanal from Berghain to Backstreet (RIP). Playing this to a mate who also, shall we say, did time at the same type of clubs I once frequented, his reaction was the same as mine – it made him feel mucky. In a good way.

Vol.1 is a ManDisco Manifesto, a sordid thrill of an album that’s both hilarious and hardcore. It’s also the best album of the year.

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