Being a journalist is pretty great, but it’s one Hell of a double-edged sword. Remember that Treehouse of Horror where Homer was sent to Hell, and they tried to punish him by feeding him all the doughnuts in the world? Well, it didn’t have the desired effect, but you get the idea. I am exposed so much music that it has made me a cynical, hardened, jaded prick. I have told 14 year olds – CHILDREN – to do something new and relevant, or hang up their guitars and stop ripping off The Arctic Monkeys. I have been given all the music in the world, at the cost of not being amazed or thrilled by anything anymore. “I might as well give up and hurl myself off a bridge on the North Circular”, I thought – until I found Belgian noise makers Raketkanon‘s gloriously deranged video for ‘Florent’. Raketkanon saved my life.
Even without the (highly recommended) visual accompaniment, ‘Florent’ is as loud and clear as you could expect a statement of intent to be, commencing with a squall of feedback, a one-two-three-four clicking of drum sticks, and we’re off. Swaggering sleazily towards you like a drooling, drunkenly unhinged co-worker at the office Christmas party, only to pat you on the back and slur something into your ear before sauntering on their way to slumping over the photocopier, the tone is set for the next eight tracks.
This may be familiar territory, especially if you’re acquainted with Steve Albini‘s sonic signatures. However, this is a new side to riff-heavy, mathy, shouty stuff – simultaneously unnerving and compelling, like the guy at the party who beckons you to join him in snorting a line of something-or-other off a model’s cheekbones. In an area of the musical map that can seem overly familiar at times, these experiences (like hoovering powder off some randomer’s face) are exhilarating and satisfying.
This edge-of-chaos dynamic is Raketkanon’s bread and butter, but ‘Suzanne’ is where it jumps straight in, a maelstrom of tension and time warping time signatures. You’d think that the subtlety of ‘Mathilde’ would provide release from its predecessors’ screw turning, but it’s a stalking, sinister thing that almost slams the throttle down halfway through, but instead elects to squeeze and squeal its way towards implosion, albeit very loudly.
‘Tension’ really is the key word, here; the ominous, agitated tone never relents. Even the closer, ‘Hanz’ doesn’t give you a sense of relief, only “we’ll finish you off next time”. These guys are from Belgium, birthplace of Dr Evil. It’s pretty easy to see how Austin Powers’ brother and nemesis grew so damn (well…) evil, if the same thing in the air affected him half as much as these guys. It HAS to be something in the air. I’m looking forward to seeing these guys in a venue/volcano lair near me soon – you should, too. Beautifully disturbing; hideous, in the best possible manner.
Thanks again for everything – especially the new favourite band.