||24 September 2010
Rock music's reliance on the electric guitar has somewhat left other instruments in the halfpenny place. On Thread Pulls' debut album New Thoughts the kick drum and bass come out of the shadows with primal effect.
The Irish band comprising Gavin Duffy and Peter Maybury have brought out their first record on Osaka, home of Patrick Kelleher. There seems to be more than a recording label shared between the two acts as they both attempt minimalism intent on seducing the listener into a hypnotic state.
'How To Talk’ and 'Weight', the first tracks, drape their structures around a repetitive mid eastern trumpet, chanting samples and massive drums. The beat is ably abetted by half spoken shamanistic mantras echoing out into trippy space.
'These New Thoughts' ups the ante without straying too much from previous sounds. An ambient drone merges with more kick drums and a sinister sub-bass. The chanting is more in keeping with the DIY post punk aesthetics of James Chance and the Contortions than any modern fad. You can imagine this working under the dim lights of some scary disco housed by a cast of swaying zombies. It has a woozy weirdness to it.
Any lyrical reading with Thread Pulls is pointless. The closest thing to meaning comes in the delivery and punch of the vocals like on 'Start/Ends' where falsetto voice is a sonic device mixed up with the trip hop drums, ominous bass and digital blips like in any good Can recording.
'HhYy' marks a definite departure with a fuller noise coming to the fore. It is the first time we can hear a noticeable bass run with deviation. There is a real sense of tension and danger infested within the mantra and rhythm.
'Sink And Swin' and 'Dead Heat' reverberate with menace and as the tracks drift by we almost forget this sort of progressive and experimental music can co-exist in a country that produces The Script and U2. The zapping synth on the latter track spouts out The Fall comparisons and the vocals ring true of David Byrne at his most sombre. You can really hear the fusion between hip hop beats and structures and the edginess of Krautrock and experimental post punk.
Best track on the album could be 'Joujouka Reminder' with its droning synths and driving drums. It has without doubt the best hook on the album: a looping synth that works in tandem with a trumpet rhythm near the end. It oozes ghostly atmosphere and evolves and revolves all at the same time. There is no doubt these men are trying to broaden their musical soundscape and those of the listener. The samples are taut, violent and aim at subtle feeling rather than immediacy.
The only drawback to the album is a perceived lack of variation for the album to sustain but put it on every so often and it will bare some dark strange fruits. It’s a very good start to this act’s recording career and hopefully they keep on making interesting sounds in whatever guises they pick next.
The DIY aesthetic is alive and well in Ireland and throws out some clever and inventive groups, no more so than those associated with Osaka records and the Box Social. The bland centre of the Irish music scene will never take a closer look to the periphery but if Thread Pulls and their ilk can keep on producing such urgent, cohesive and experimental music it can only enhance the reputation and health of the indie scene here and cast those at the forefront into the greater musical world.
- Tim Gannon