Spreading Fear and Loathing
Super Spreader - Fear and Loathing (EC Productions)
So, to Adelaide's Fear and Loathing, an outfit who described themselves as "punk" way back in 1981 (or whenever the hell it was) and who are still standing, and who are also still punks (I've seen their toilet, it's STILL revolting). Now, as guitarist and maestro Chris Wiley once explained to me, for a long time FAL were fun but not very good. But, because they kept going and no-one stopped them, they "accidentally" became good.
To see Fear and Loathing (especially in Adelaide) is to witness what the past should have been, and what the future might be. I've seen the band a number of times, and every now and then I spend an entire night hypnotised by one member - for example, Terry, whose complex drum style and ferocity has to be witnessed to be believed, is utterly captivating.
Not this time out, however. "Superspreader" is brilliant, feral and ferocious, all jagged fucked edges and scraping vocals, pounding rhythm section that resembles a couple of out-of-control road trains (Hermann Lauss and Terry Rowe) and everybody's favourite, a twin-guitar assault meted out by Chris Wylie and Sean Tilmouth.
"Superspreader" is FAL's first CD in too many years, and while it retains their timeless sense of not-very-grown-up humour (you may notice this tendency on the front cover) it is their most cohesive outing in years, and it's tough, mature, punk as, and straddles old-skool and nu-skool.
Foundation member Hermann Lauss tells us: "Most of the songs were made up as we went along on the day of the recording and surprised ourselves. We had maybe two or three roughly worked-out and the rest were just upgraded from jamming."
Jesus. The thing is, they sound tight as Trump's proverbial cat's ass. 'Superspreader' is utterly formidable. Invite them to the party of someone you have no respect for and watch them empty the joint.
Jess' voice makes fingernails down a blackboard sound like Julie Andrews - imagine a singer with a fungus infection on the larynx. Now imagine the fungus taking over and singing instead. Fucking brilliant, that's what. Of course, you need the helpful lyric sheet I requested. Or, not, depending...
Veteran Adelaide musician Sean Tilmouth is the 'new boy' on guitar, and he's made a huge impact on the band. First, he's fattened and broadened the guitar sound, and found spots within the older songs (not on the CD) Sean where he has added sparkle, growl, schnapps and salt. Their live sets are a rough-rider's delight (sans lube), Sean's enthusiasm is contagious and the band sound like they're at least 28 again. You'll believe there's room for wah, acoustic guitar, and a scything electric guitar solo amid that sonic assault.
Yes, that means they're firing like ... well, we won't go there. The first half of the CD is one thing... and then the band start delving into uncharted territory...
After several plays I have a few favourites ... at the moment I'm lost in "My Life Is A Party" ("my life is a palindrome/ I live at Glenelg/ I never get sick/ So I don't need to get well") and "Hillsong Burning" ("maybe then you'll fucken learn/ You're the one that let us burn"), and "Milk in the Mud" ("Got a lot of rocks I got to crack/ Going down a long dark road/ Getting pay-back for all I'm owed").
There are a couple of live covers at the end - would you believe "Belsen Was a Gas" (you won't recognise it) and (The Residents') "Kawliga"? Miasmic!
Oh yeah. If you've ever wondered if women belch, they absolutely do ... to spectacular, gobsmacking effect.
Get into Fear and Loathing - it's not my fault you losers live interstate. Book 'em Danno. Go to ozmusicbooks.com
(and an extra bottle for sticking around for so long)