Monday, 12 November 2012

Paws, Waiters, Sex Hands & Dolfinz – Split 12” review

Song, by Toad Records has delivered a number of euphonious treats in the past, but none quite so explosive and volatile as this latest split 12” featuring Paws, Waiters, Sex Hands and Dolfinz, who have come together to create a record forlornly redolent of a bygone era.
Recorded in the creaky depths of Toad Hall (Matthew Young’s living room), each band contributed their own idiosyncratic touch to a record that eddies you back to the early 90s the moment you press ‘play’.

The opening track comes from Sex Hands - an intrepid quartet from Manchester - who define themselves with a combination of raucous lo-fi and, bizarrely, ‘Friends’-related lyrics. Of the three tracks they contributed, ‘Chandler in a Box’ provides a perfect example of Sex Hands at their catchiest, with Pavement-esque guitar jangles permeating the crunch of the drum, all the while recounting the details of that Friends episode where Chandler lives in a box to prove to Joey how much he means to him. Ahh, nostalgia…

Up next are Glasgow’s ‘haribo-thrash’ sweethearts, Paws. These three lads have found immense success touting their saccharine, melodic charm infused with thundering veloce rhythmic guitar, which can be heard in all it’s glory in their acclaimed debut album ‘Cokefloat!’ released earlier this year. For this record it’s much of the same: raw, chaotic dynamism that’s served them so well, with four blisteringly energised tracks that deliver a powerful level of vivacity to this split 12”.

The second Mancunian outfit, Waiters, is shrouded in a foggy veil of obscurity to anyone outwith their own little coterie of admirers – but what they lack in recognition, they make up for in heart. They’ve been described by ‘Vice’ as “My Bloody Valentine and The Velvet Underground all fucking eachother”, and to a point, that tenderly eloquent portrayal is bang on. Their inspirations are very obviously drawn from the same stone as their fellow contributors, but Waiters’ wistful droning provides a more melancholic backdrop to a genuinely affecting record, and unearths the hidden layers many of these blitzkrieg anthems have under the surface.

Rounding off the session is Stonehaven-based Dolfinz, who come into the fray brandishing slapdash, scuzz-laden guitars and writhing, muscular drumbeats that create a deliciously modern sounding alt vibe. They’ve siphoned off just enough influence from Wavves and Ty Seagall to keep fans of their ilk happy, as well as maintaining their own identity. As far as contemporary revivalist fuzz-pop bands go, these guys are flying higher than Felix ‘Bumgardener’ on his date with the stars.

The amalgamation of these four bands enshrined together in music history is very pertinent indeed. Both their hearts and their instruments speak to a period lost for almost 20 years, solidified in their frozen state, protected from the passage of time and to that sentiment, this record is testament. To seven billion people the year is 2012, but to these guys – it’s still 1991.

As an aside I feel it’s important to mention that the cover art pays homage to old 60s jazz records – a symbolic reference to the days when it was second nature to polish off the old trumpet and bristle sticks and groove your way through a six-track record like it was nothing.  It’s an age Mr. Toad thinks of fondly, and made music feel, in his words, “more like a living thing, rather than a museum piece”.

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