I’m a music nerd, especially when it comes to record labels, in recent years Disorder Recordings, Nefarious Industries, Anti-Corporate Music, and Desert Records have all come onto my radar, now it’s the turn of Wrong Speed Records, run by Joe Thompson, bassist of Hey Colossus. Amongst the label’s extensive roster, (which includes Hey Colossus, Part Chimp, Pohl, and Sweet Williams) is The Mute Servants aka Robert Davis, ‘a 40-something father of 2 and devoted husband’ on guitar, bass, and vocals and Rhys Llewellyn on drums, two names you might recognise from their time with the aforementioned Hey Colossus.
Reading up on the background to the project, if you pardon the upcoming cringeworthy turn of phrase, it affords Robert some quality ‘me time’ away from his familial responsibilities and an opportunity to exorcise some frustrations whether that be related to Brexit, Watford FC, or on-street parking. If it sounds like a deeply DIY affair that’s because it is, what with the music being recorded in Robert‘s attic in Watford, which hopefully should lead to some suitably raw and tasty sounds.
Pointless Breather combines rip roaring garage rock ala The Stooges’ Metallic K.O. album, rough sounding Motörhead-esque rock and roll, and Mark E Smith’s idiosyncratic vocal delivery. This sets you up nicely for Take The Bait an incredibly loud and excitingly obnoxious blast of noise-rock that will put your nerves through the wringer, and will also have you hunkering for Cleveland punks The Dead Boys. Equally thrilling is Mother’s Ruin, a number imbued with the spirit of Crime and The Electric Eels, who in my opinion were always more ‘true punk’ than the perfectly produced and overhyped likes of the Sex Pistols.
Broken Ladder features some pretty killer bass both at the start and throughout the track and has a Jesus Lizard feel, albeit one injected with a speedy Ramones kick while Learning Curve once again references Motörhead but with some added nods to The Dils, (particularly the track Class War). Like The Dils, the track exercises a more melodic streak that led to that band drawing comparisons to The Everly Brothers and which will doubtlessly have you bobbing your head a few more times in a way that may not have been possible until now. Under And Under had me thinking The Circle Jerks, as well as Keith Morris’ later band Off!, and betrays a mid-paced hardcore influence. There were also shades of criminally underrated garage-rock/grunge outfit The Fluid too, who coincidentally were a favourite of the aforementioned Keith Morris.
The Mute Servants offer up blunt and uncompromising garage punk/noise-rock…
The band’s take on Do You Love Me Now is unsurprisingly different. Whereas The Breeders original (from 1993s Last Splash album) is somewhat muted, understated and melancholic, here it sounds all together bitter, caustic, and downright furious and perhaps cuts more to the quick of how one feels in the aftermath of a breakup. There is no indie style naval gazing introspection and reflection, but instead outright rage and indignation, making for a far more accurate portrayal (at least in my experience).
A Little T And A meshes together Gaunt’s pop-punk with a little late 70s The Mekons, years before the latter had discovered the joys of alt-country. It should be pointed out that the preceding tracks were hardly epics lengthwise but this number at a mere thirty-four seconds is a positive blip, albeit one which ends the EP on an abrupt high.
I’ve recently been immersed in the John Carpenter-esque sounds of In Arcadia as well as the jazz experimentalism of Mac Gollehon, so The Mute Servants offer up a blunt and uncompromising garage punk/noise-rock alternative that definitely hits all of this early middle aged reviewer’s buttons.
Scribed by: Reza Mills