A short, sharp stab to the ears with a rusted penknife, it appears this four track EP from Stockport’s Under was a ‘live in the studio’ affair designed as a stop gap before their upcoming third album. On the basis of this, that third full length is going to be one to keep your eyes and ears open for.
An angular and unpredictable trio of originals, showing a slightly more hostile side to the band than their previous Stop Being Naive album, make up the bulk of proceedings. The trio displayed a knack on that previous album for marrying a kind of forward thinking avant sludge damage, to bursts of soaring three part harmony vocals; there are none of those here. From the moment Introductions & Apologies tumbles in, like a band falling down the stairs, it’s a more punishing approach that takes the lead. The tangible frustration is primal, but the delivery is disorientating in the best possible way.
showcasing a different aspect of the band’s gut punching noise-rock fuckery…
Dope Loop knuckles down for a tense slow burn after that vertiginous battering of an opening track, the riff becoming more oppressive with each repetition until they open it up slightly in the mid section. It builds to almost migraine levels at the end, taking a simple idea and pushing it into ever more intense levels. Dividers In Hell raises the pace and the mischief, being perhaps the most straightforward of the originals here – though that’s a relative term, as it never slips into comfort for long, always changing, while the roared vocals, ring master the whole circus. We get a fairly faithful run through of My War to end things off that’s one of the better Black Flag covers I’ve heard. And trust me, I’ve heard plenty.
Designed to be listened to in one go rather than as individual tracks, Training Resource #5 really does work best that way. The three initial songs complement each other perfectly, showcasing a different aspect of the band’s gut punching noise-rock fuckery, and packing a plethora of ideas into a short space. It’s cathartic and sardonic in equal measures. But most importantly, while it does occasionally bring other artists to mind – the heaviness and angularity of Great Falls, the impious attack of the Jesus Lizard – it doesn’t really sound like anyone else out there right now.
Now if they could just sort out their artwork, they’d be unstoppable. Roll on album three.
Scribed by: Jamie Grimes