Perhaps Contraption: Sludge and Tripe
"The chickens are all on chemicals. The public are all on chickens. The future's on the public and it's a chemical chicken public future that has me quaking. It's a chemical chicken public future that I've been, dreaming of."
Don't even try to understand the above quote taken from "The Old Dispensary", the first song off of Perhaps Contraption's debut Sludge and Tripe. Matching the strange lyrics which is a common thread throughout the CD is equally strange music. This stuff is completely off the wall, eccentric and utterly insane. A complete maniacal ride that will brutally assault your senses and while some tracks work very well, others not so much.
In the band are Squire Squire (vocals, guitar, flute, clarinet), Dildo Window (drums, percussion), yes, you read that correctly, Pimi Mayfair (bass, vocals), Jack Attack (guitar, vocals) and Mathew Johnston (bass, vocals).
The band formed in London around 2003 and have been playing clubs throughout the U.K. ever since. Judging from some of the band member's names and the album's lyrics these guys do not take themselves too seriously. I was reminded at times of the late Frank Zappa's satirical musings on society. As bizarre as the lyrics are, the music is just as wild, maybe even more so. The band's sound is mainly generated with guitars, everything from shredding to intense sound effects with the occasional acoustic melody added to keep things slightly sane. Take the dissonance of King Crimson and the wild musicality of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum or The Mars Volta and you will have an idea of what this music is all about. The band's vocals are just as strange as the music. Clean melodic vocals are supplemented with intense rants and harsh ravings which can be a little overbearing after a while. As with the vocals, I found the band almost too heavy at times. Just when a nice melody begins to surface a wall of metallic noise breaks through completely shattering any cohesion the song had to offer. Of course, this is avant-garde music, where the unexpected is expected to happen and I suspect the band would not want it any other way. Many genres are touched upon including jazz, fusion, folk, metal, prog and country reminding me of Mr. Bungle's throw everything in but the kitchen sink approach.
My favourite tracks are the somewhat normal "As Sure As Eggs Is Eggs On Sunday" where pretty acoustic guitar is supplemented by a build up of sound that you think will explode into chaos but thankfully never does and the country flavoured "Mamma's Shoes" that has some pretty nice flute and a quaint English style melody. I also have a soft spot for "Hydraulic Legs", a bizarre combination of folk and dissonance that I found quite endearing. The album ends with "Make It Come Out Green" featuring trills of flute and free flowing jazzy meanderings of guitar morphing into hard rock dissonance with funky riffs and rap style vocals that actually works pretty well.
While there is no denying the band's skill and imaginative songwriting, Sludge and Tripe will not be for everyone. It is a demanding listen that I found both rewarding and frustrating. If you are well versed in the world of avant-garde music, Perhaps Contraption will probably fit the bill. Absurd or genius… you be the judge.
1. The Old Dispensary (4:45)
2. Glenavon Bog Sings an 'A' (1:20)
3. Bluebells (4:04)
4. As Sure As Eggs Is Eggs On Sunday (2:27)
5. Hard Cutlery (6:02)
6. Swan's Regal Birdbath (2:30)
7. Tetrahedron (3:43)
8. Fairly Old Curtains (0:06)
9. Swank (4:19)
10. Globule, Follice (July-fly Sweat (Improv)) (3:12)
11. Mum Is Your Dad (& Your Dad Is Your Mum) (6:58)
12. Mumma's Shoes (5:17)
13. Hydraulic Legs (4:47)
14. Milk & Two Sugars, (0:32)
15. Coffee, Tea? (3:32)
16. Make It Come Out Green (8:55)
Added: May 2nd 2010
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
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