Chrome Hoof ‘Crush Depth’ CD/2xLP 2010

Chrome Hoof 'Crush Depth' CD/2xLP 2010I promised myself I’d try and get through this review without mentioning drugs. The effects of drugs, doing drugs, being impaired by drugs… hard drugs, soft drugs legal drugs…drugs, drugs, drugs.

One glance at the press release blew that clean out of the water ‘I, a lone ship’s biscuit, was the only witness of sound enough mind to relay the following events…’ I shit you not.

For those Earth dwellers unfamiliar with Chrome Hoof they are an experimental orchestra from, sorry based in, London. The group was formed in 2000 by Cathedral bassist Leo Smee and his brother Milo Smee. Initially performing as a duo, their music was mostly electronic. Since the start, however, the group have continuously recruited new members playing various instruments. Currently the group have about ten members and instruments such as saxophone, trumpet, bassoon, violin, guitars, bass and drums and their music spans diverse music genres such as metal, electro, funk, jazz, disco and chamber music, whilst the accompanying information on ‘Crush Depth’ is the ravings of Coleridge’s Mariner as it links the songs in some space aged post battle tale.

Sometimes as a listener you just surrender to the music and let it take you on a journey. Honestly if you are not strapped in for this one you may just run screaming in the direction of the exit as this is almost like being trapped in one of those Japanese music games where you have to kill the giant kitten thing by tapping the buttons in time to sustain the music whilst everything happens really fast and your eyes bleed and you are not sure if you even know what you are doing.

Avant garde would be an understatement. ‘Crush Depth’ is like the bastard offspring of System Of A Down’s wackier moments, Marilyn Manson’s ‘Smells Like Children’, The Mars Volta, Kraftwork and the soundtrack to a repetitive Ninetendo platform game.

To describe this album to someone who speaks a foreign language you’d probably just twirl your finger around by the side of your head…I mean seriously, one minute it it’s huge and hooky like on the driving chorus of ‘One Day’, the next it’s a jazz freak out with acrobatic vocals and then a tranquil calm and mellow vibe, before it all comes crashing in like X Ray Specs tumbling down the stairs.

Some moments will remind you of musical touch stones and Chrome Hoof sound all Dresden Dolls or Kraftwork and the next it is like some acid bent Oompah music that would be piped through Willy Wonka’s factory, at times capable of glorious transcendence and the irritating as fuck the next.

When doing research on Chrome Hoof I turned up a picture where they are standing by the Themes dressed in Tin foil… by that point though I wasn’t remotely surprised. ‘Crush Depth’ is not for everyone, it tap dances on the line between genius and insanity gleefully flinging limbs every which way asking you to join them. It is an infuriating as it is rewarding, at times completely immersing and at times utterly unlistenable – maybe a comparison to a certain vegetable based spread could be more appropriate for it’s polarising effects.

They are either brilliance ahead of their time or quite simply fucking mental.

Or on drugs.

Label: Southern Records

Scribed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden