London band Sex Swing consists of Jason Stöll (Bass), vocalist Dan Chandler, drummer Stuart Bell, guitarist Jodie Cox, keyboard player Ollie Knowles and saxophonist Colin Webster. The record will be the band’s first since 2016’s self-titled debut and much anticipated. It will be released on Rocket Recordings on 15th May 2020, also the home to Pigs x7 and Gnod. Jason has been busying himself in the meantime with his most recent project Twin Sister (review) as well as running his label God Unknown Records (read more about it here).
Sex Swing has a history of using grotesque artwork and Type II is no exception! I cannot even begin to fathom what it is that’s on the cover, aside from a vegetarian’s worst nightmare. The band have always had a darkness to their sound and opening track The Passover is true to form, coming off like an early 80s no wave band with some insane free jazz Ornette Coleman influences thrown in. A fine opening number.
Next, we have Skimmington Ride, which takes its name from a form of ‘rough music’ with which the community would publicly shame wrongdoers, a primitive form of doxing perhaps. The track certainly reflects the ugly sentiments of its title, its dark, unpleasant but strangely hypnotic at the same time.
Valentine’s Day At The Gym is a wonderfully disconnected collection of throbbing Birthday Party inspired post-punk, pulsating motorik drumming and tightly controlled aggression, Colin Webster’s sax blazing in the background only adds to the chaos. This certainly doesn’t make for the most romantic of pieces, but then as someone with abject contempt for Valentine’s Day I am more than OK with this.
…opening track The Passover is true to form, coming off like an early 80s no wave band with some insane free jazz Ornette Coleman influences thrown in
Betting Shop next and we have a steady bass throb ala Peter Hook and vocals in the style of Ian Curtis. In fact, if you were played this track randomly and with no clues as to the band’s identity, you would think it a long-lost Joy Division track.
Need Battery is a short interlude and nearly 2 minutes of Merzbow style noise, before heading onto La Riconada which recalls early Swans before they discovered neo-folk and post-rock. Like Swans’ early work, the drums have a pounding relentlessness to them making the track an uncomfortable listen, though I garner this was probably the intention.
Which is when we come to the final, and longest track at nearly nine minutes, Garden of Eden – 2000AD, it certainly has a mellower vibe compared to the rest of the record and maintains a Can style repetitiveness with some intermittent sax. The track increases in speed at around seven minutes, making for a thrilling conclusion.
With a mere seven tracks and 38 minutes running time, Sex Swing’s latest effort will certainly not be troubling the likes of Yes’ Tales From Topographic Oceans in terms of length and volume of material anytime soon. But this is to its credit, with music this experimental and discordant you don’t want to be overwhelmed and possibly bored by an album that exhausts and overstays its welcome. Instead having listened the first time you’re left salivating for more and its clear to me that Jason and co have adhered wisely to the adage, less is more.
Scribed by: Reza Mills