“A collection of profound and epic album reviews and musical articles by former astronaut and brain surgeon, Alasdair Kennedy. Reaching levels of poetry that rival Keats and Blake, the following reviews affirm Alasdair to be a prodigy, a genius and a god whose opinion is always objectively right. He is also without a doubt the most modest man in the universe.” - Alasdair Kennedy
Noise rock is, by its very nature, rather unmelodious and can
therefore be a lot of hard work.
These Boston brain-curdlers and their signature din of dissonant
guitars, squealing synths and screechy vocals have always appealed to me in
small doses. They’re like a storm – exciting for the first few minutes, but
then the fence panels start flying off and your wheely bin is halfway down the
road and the house is shaking like an arthritic rattlesnake and you’re
under the duvet unable to sleep reciting that Thunder-buddies song from Ted.
Me during a thunderstorm.
In simpler terms, the thought of a whole Guerilla Toss album
intimidated me. I expected it to be uncomfortable, disorientating and unforgiving.
But alas that was not the case at all. In fact, if anything, the band seem to have settled down a little for their debut.
Maybe it’s the departure of their long-serving bonkers
bassist, forever losing his underpants and playing live shows bollock-naked.
Maybe the band are all out of crack. Maybe they’re just preserving their energy
reserves for future freak-outs. Whatever the case, they’ve decided to ease off on the sheer
noisiness, each song adopting a structured sense of groove and hence a sense of direction.
Previous EPs felt like being air-dropped into Dehli’s chaotic streets during
rush hour and being expected to drive. Eraser Stargazer feels very much the same but
with a satnav-wielding-professional-chauffeur at the helm, giving the listener
the chance to gaze out the window at the passing crazy surroundings without feeling
The newfound calmness on this record after all is relative. Guerilla
Toss aren’t about to start writing lounge music for sit-down audiences any time
soon. The Mr-Bungle-esque sour melodies and Kassie Carlson’s demented sing-shouting are still very much a part of their identity. The difference is that
the songs feel more cohesive this time around and therefore more enjoyable. Dissonant
though they may be, many of the songs also feel infectious, my favourite moments being the groovy
guitar of ‘Diamond Girls', the cowbell-driven funk of ‘Grass Shack’ and the dancey
outro of ‘Perfume’.
Clearly, some moments still also demand patience. Although there
is a definite riff driving ‘Eraser Stargazer Forever’ it becomes swiftly
swamped in acrid disharmony by the end of the song turning more endurable than
enjoyable. And there are moments when Kassie Carlson’s oddly-pitched shrieking
gets a little grating as on ‘Diamond Girls’. However, these challenging moments
never reach levels of Behold-the-Arctopus-inaccessibility maintaining some
respect for melody. The breakneck pace also ensures these moments don’t linger
around for too long to become tiresome. They're just the right level of unhinged without making me want to rip my ears off, which doesn't sound like a complement, but as an equally unhinged listener, I assure you it is.