eccentric outing for serial multi-tasker
Known chiefly for his involvement in a string of hardcore, d-beat and garage DIY punk bands, JAMES DOMESTIC turns to his solo project to kick back and indulge his more experimental leanings.
From the off, it’s clear how important space is. James utilises his knowledge of dub reggae to allow these tracks room to breathe, this patient use of space reaching its pinnacle on the delightfully languid Weekend Carbs. A lazy, Sunday afternoon workout, reminiscent of a meandering MADNESS b-side, an IAN DURY-esque vocal weaving its way throughout. The songs featuring the vocals of Clare Gillett also benefit from this room to breathe. Their use is minimal but crucial, particularly on a pointed observation on human behaviour such as Holiday. Clare’s soothing voice accompanies James’ casual intonations over a steady beat, reggae bass, keyboard nips and occasional cutting guitar. Push On Through‘s (reviewed here) stark repetition captures the madness of bleary-eyed, late night drives before jerking you awake with needle-points of loud guitar. Clare’s biggest showing though, is on final track Never Enough. She can’t help but get all soulful on this catchy piece of indie-funk. Incidentally, this song, along with procrastination hymn Mañana (reviewed here), sees James berate himself for not getting shit done. Incredible, considering his prodigious output.
Before all that, Itchy Itchy opens the album in fine style. A cheeky spoken-word piece set to jerky, minimalist dance-pop, this effective stage-setter is powered by a persistent drum beat, stabs of guitar and catchy keys. Elsewhere, things get a little outré on Casual Vulture and Giblets. The former’s all electronic beats, bleeps, disorientating keyboards and minimal bursts of guitar, while the latter has echoey jabs of noise and a weird obsession with the word ‘giblets’. Bean Counter is the closest you’ll get to anything resembling James’ more orthodox bands but it ain’t that close. Chugging garage rock with a spoken/shouted vocal and minimal keys, accountants will love it – “You’re just a cunt who can count“! Faze Out (reviewed here) isn’t too far behind, a vibrant, fuzzed-out garage stomper with wonky keyboards. There’s more on offer across this album but you need some surprises, right? Let’s just say, steel drums and a twisted children’s TV theme-alike (Is That You?) are just some of the other treats scattered throughout these grooves.
Eccentricity abounds on Carrion Repeating, as James flits between languorous spoken word, frustrated dalek and angry raver. The music is gleefuly idiosyncratic, with an eye for hooks amid playful instrumentation. A left-field pop sensibility, akin to the Stiff Records sounds of the late 70’s, wedded to a jaded, contemporary worldview pervades throughout as James plays around with space, echo, dub and minimalism. The end result is an eccentric yet accessible quirk-pop ride, a raised eyebrow around every corner. Experimentation, not alienation.
Released 22nd April 2022 on vinyl/digital. Try ordering here