Now, if there are two words which, when put together, immediately begin to tickle my musical pickle, it’s the sizzling, wham-bam combination of “two-piece” and “sludge”. So when former Prosperina bassist/vocalist Owen Street kindly sent word that he had teamed up with Matthew Ham (drums) of Heavy On The Ride, to ignite a one-two beast of balls-heavy animosity, my eyebrow politely raised itself in his general direction. With just a two-track, self-released demo currently available, this is really just an early snippet of what these Swansea boyos promise for the future ahead. But based purely on the mesmerising grooves on show on both Fuckpuncher and Snake Falls Show All, so far that future is looking positively monolithic.
The elegantly-titled Fuckpuncher kicks us off, immediately throwing down the gauntlet to fellow duos Tweak Bird and Big Business to “come at me, bro!” and jam harder than a shelf full of Bonne Maman’s finest conserves. If you’re worried about the lack of riffs in this guitar-free zone, don’t be because Street’s basslines pound the surface of the air like Caleb Bird fronting Death From Above 1979. Ham’s drums move swiftly from punk-influenced rolls and fills to sucker-punching hammer blows and foot-spasming cymbal rhythms. Topping off this turbo-charged bulldozer is Street’s otherworldly growl. Part shaman, part wizard and definitely part Viking, it’s a throat that’s as much solemn, sincere and sophisticated as it is guttural. Whack all of this together and you’re essentially right up The Melvins’ creek with a double-handed paddle to wade through the sludgy dirge.
Snake Falls Show All is a faster cut, marrying a sludge-punk aesthetic to a structure that carries both the melodic grace of Torche and the churning, industrialised dust cloud of Kowloon Walled City. Once again there’s a stark sense of balance between Ham’s cutting, angular drumming and Street’s Tibetan-mountain-goat vocals that shapes up very neatly into a remarkably cohesive and central sound for a first time demo release.
Despite the inference of their identity, these new Welsh wonders are no bridal-based Nails tribute band. Don’t forget the sonic chasms of their riffs, don’t forget Street’s cosmos-bothering vocals and most importantly don’t forget the spaces between each letter of their name.
Peel back the V A I L S to this enchanting new stream of two-piece sludgy glory, it won’t even cost you tuppence.
V A I L S’ demo can be downloaded for Name Your Price from their Bandcamp page.
Scribed by: Pete Green