Archie Bronson Outfit

Wild Crush

Your favourite bands make you wait. They push you to the edge of your tolerance, almost to the edge of sanity as you wait for news of them. Then it suddenly appears – new single a new album, a new something. After the brief but juicy appetiser that was ‘I Was A Dead Duck’, their limited 7” release on Speedy Wunderground, Wild Crush is only Archie Bronson Outfit’s fourth full-length album in ten years, and is therefore all the more anticipated.

Bassist Dorian Hobday has been replaced by Kristian Robinson, whose abilities are writ large across opening track, ‘Two Doves On A Lake’. It’s chunky, fuzzed out riffing ushers in a bright new era for the band, with their new bass recruit carrying its rhythms with unruffled alacrity. ABO have always communicated in bold strokes of colour, their quiet brilliance bound by striking imagery, from the white on black figures of Fur to the fierce yellow/blue contrast of Coconut. The turquoise/purple hues of Wild Crush cover are a baleful signal to what lurks within: ‘We Are Floating’ is a coiled spring rocker, displaying the proto hard rock ferocity. Its nagging and ensnaring sound is close to High Tide or May Blitz; early 70s bands that were as idiosyncratic as they were experimental.

Sam Windett’s grizzled guitar work throughout the album is reminiscent of the Tony McPhee of the legendary Groundhogs, ploughing its way through a hard rock cluster bomb like ‘Cluster Up And Hover’ and then cutting up rough during the climax of the dolorous ballad ‘Love To Pin You Down’ like a vicious interloper. The querulous, desperate edge that has always characterised Sam Windett’s vocals is yet another reason to exult.

The ramshackle stomp ‘In White Relief’ has an air of Salvation Army piety about it, a disarming attractiveness that ABO have made their hallmark from their earliest days. The crazed and anthemic ‘Hunch Your Body, Love Somebody’ unleashes the latent preacher tendencies within Windett: his earnest evangelisms caught cold by the ripping scuzzed out tempo. A number of sly allusions to 1970s rock permeate the album, from the alien paean ‘Lori from the Outer Reaches’ (which filches the drum beat from Bowie’s ‘Five Years’) to the delicious Velvet Underground homage ‘Glory Sweat And Hover’, but they take nothing away from the hook-laden beauty of the album as a whole.

A quiet brilliance beams throughout Wild Crush, its manifest qualities on display for all to see, if they would only look. Make no bones about it, Archie Bronson Outfit are a cult group par excellence, but they deserve to be adored by millions. Make this the one crush you permanently connect with.

The Quietus Digest

Sign up for our free Friday email newsletter.

Support The Quietus

Our journalism is funded by our readers. Become a subscriber today to help champion our writing, plus enjoy bonus essays, podcasts, playlists and music downloads.

Support & Subscribe Today