First spotted in 2009 but now released into the wild once more over 4 sides of wax is the frankly weird world of Contact High. This is the spawn of monstrously monikered You’re Smiling Now But We’ll All Turn Into Demons (sheesh, even putting YSNBWATID is a ball ache so from now on it’s “them”, “they” or “their”).
Their sound (see, I wasn’t joking) is a melting pot with snatches of Stooges, Zappa, Pixies, Jon Spencer, Truckfighters, Acid Mothers Temple and metal bands I could mention if I was into that sort of thing. The drums are oddly thin sounding, but this works as a plus, leaving the music with a sense of an airship that has slipped its moorings. There is a careering abandon here, numerous bands try to sound out of control, but this is the real deal. There is also a real confidence and a sense of something unknowable and intangible.
Oddly, at times they remind me of two separate versions of The Fall. Firstly, the crisp rockabilly clatter of Dragnet and Grotesque. Secondly, the Dudes era Fall of Reformation Post TLC (with Tim Pressley and Rob Barbato of Darker My Love) with a low end groove that sounds like a mutant aardvark snaffling chilli flavour ants.
The vocals may be the unsung hero of this show, they sound ordinary and keep the music grounded and relatable. Where the music threatens to verge into metal territory, the vocals maintain a DIY ethos to proceedings.
Highlights include opener ‘2009’ which sees toxic guitar vomited over a garage rock rhythm section. ‘Alpha And Omega’ sounds like a wooly mammoth wading through treacle. ‘Jammin’ On The 13th Floor’ courses with a guitar that sounds like a neon electric shark and hits like a highlanders’ awakening. It manages to make most rock ‘n’ roll sound redundant.
The second half almost sounds like a different band, with long. elusive jams taking over. ‘Prismatic Reflections’ offers a gloopy seduction that sounds like a bareknuckle post rock blues. A slowcore grind is introduced, rumbling like the engines of The Nautilus. Then the guitar pyrotechnics turn up sounding like the kind of pissed off monster you get in Japanese monster movies. Then it all gets a bit pedal wank heavy. ‘The Plague’ has drums from a battle scene of your favourite historical movie with a rare psych riff.
This is a dirty, fierce, nasty mother fucker of an album. I don’t love it all but when You’re Smiling Now But We’ll Turn Into Demons have such attitude and skill and a low end to die for I can forgive some of the guitar excesses. Check it out…