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I can honestly say that I have never been this excited, ever, as I am now at the thought of the album releases that are due in the coming months. This year so many of the artists that I listen to and travel far and wide to see are going to unleash new records on us. The first of my personal big hitters to drop their album and start this avalanche of sounds is Italian 4 piece The Gluts.
The Milan based band comprising Nicolo J. Campana vocals and keyboard, Marco Campana guitars, Claudia Cesana bass and Dario Bassi drums, have a real crackle of electricity around them at the moment; things are buzzing, building and intensifying. They already have 2 albums out (‘Warsaw’ from 2014 and ‘Estasi’, 2017) as well as a ‘Sessions’ set, recorded live in the studio and released, like this current album and ‘Estasi’ by Fuzz Club records. I’ve only managed to catch them live twice but at both gigs – to use an overworked cliché that does actually fit here – I was blown away.
Within seconds of the needle hitting the vinyl, I’m grinning from ear to ear and I know ‘Dengue Fever Hypnotic Trip’ is going to be a special album. The first track is the recent single ‘E. The Real Punk Rocker’. It’s a primal, aggressive and twisted spike of a song; pummelling deep drums and a delicious post-punk bass sound underpin the coruscating demonic howl of the guitars and keys and abandoned, wild and gloriously unhinged vocals. It’s streamlined and aggressive, an animal on the hunt, not a shred of anything unnecessary.
‘True Rose’ is slower, the bass an ominous rumble, guitars reverberating through wide open space, the whole song simmering as the chaos is initially held back before rising to a toxic crescendo and totally letting go, vocals tortured and twisted. All that beautiful noise in less than 5 minutes!
‘Swamp’ Is pure punk rock; chainsaw guitars, loping bass, saturated and dense with a brief vocal interjection from Claudia sounding scabrous and threatening. We’ve recently seen pictures of what a black hole looks like; ‘Leviathan’ is what one probably sounds like; starting with a low grind of a bassline and becoming dense, fraught with awe and crushingly heavy. There seem to be multiple layers of drummimg, the guitars and effects are corrosive and the whole thing sounds like a scream in the void, daunting but beautiful.
‘Dalal’s Song’ starts side 2 and it’s over 11 minutes of seductive and darkly psychedelic sounds, epic and otherworldly. It’s heavenly and heretical all at the same time, a satanic jam session in an ornate hushed cathedral, conjuring surreal images of twisted landscapes and faraway places. But that’s just my take on it…it’s wherever your own mind takes you.
‘De Witte Jager’ starts with an impossibly deep bass line that lives up to all your post-punk fantasies in one go and overall is a desolate and dark sounding creation, intricate, spaced out and brooding with divine reverb-heavy guitar amidst the mayhem. Another longer piece, it is clear that The Gluts are expressing themselves musically on this album, growing into new forms, ignoring boundaries and letting themselves go. The record finishes with a punchy and deranged 4 minutes of pulverising guitar punk rock called ‘J. Will Fuck You Now’ – that distinctive deep and tribal drum sound, pushy insistent bass, and all round cacophony. It’s a bestial and ecstatic mindfuck of a song, Nicolo a demented and outraged preacher man, a manic and possessed livewire on record as well as on stage.
For me the whole thing is pure joy and catharsis, I don’t do religion, but this comes close. It’s primitive and dirty and organic at one level, saturated and dripping with deviant atmosphere, while at the same time displaying a hard, stark and metallic edge. Overall it’s the sonic equivalent of going through a bad trip breakdown and coming out the other side still laughing, stronger and wiser albeit hysterical and close to the edge. Totally Wired…
As the band, themselves say ‘play to believe – but play it LOUD’. I did and I’m a believer. In case you hadn’t guessed… Keep your eyes peeled for announcements of live dates soon. The only officially confirmed date so far is at Psych Rising in Manchester in October. See you there…
Words (and ropey phone photos from Fuzz Club Eindhoven) by Gary Powell for Enjoy Yourself!