VIDEO: Hysterical Injury - Cycle One

Hysterical Injury – Cycle One (Crystal Fuzz)


Picture this; if you will: Two human beings sit opposite each other at a table, between them, upon the gingham print, sits the universal onion of universal truth. Our first human, lets call them Bobby, wants to eat that onion whole, devouring the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Human Two – Bobbie – is perturbed.

“My dear Bobby, if the truth were a nail; would you ask me to hammer it into your skull. No? I thought not. Let us peel off the layers one by one, for though it will take longer, and we may make some mistakes and perhaps even lose sight of our task for a while, through tears or tedium, we will certainly learn more that way. We may even find that we do not need to peel off every layer, for we will know the truth at the onion’s heart before we reach it, and thus, we may leave the onion for some other folk.”

Let us assume that we agree with Bobbie, and we can move on.

If you unravel the layers of meaning in an Annie Gardiner song, you will not be disappointed.

Many of these kaleidoscopic wonderments would have you flapping like a mad tench on a line; that is to say, hooked, for their foot-to-the-floor effortless musicality, and all the while, their message seeps in bit-by-bit, ready for decoding. ‘Cycle One’ is one of these, an obvious single, but for the journey it takes you on with its B-sides. Its lyrics are a reaction to extreme acts of desperation and folly displayed by certain women of the beat generation; they are brutally honest, deeply personal and political, and feminist in a very pure sense. The craft of deconstructing so much into brief sound bite pop is really just the brilliant sheen on the skin of our onion. The ‘Cycle One’ video, put together by Jamie Worsfold of Pinhole Media, captures both the band’s energy, and DIY spirit, to great effect.

Following ‘Cycle One’ on the Bath/Bristol two-piece’s debut LP, Dead Wolf Situation (Crystal Fuzz) is ‘Vex’. On the single, we have Antoni Maovvi’s Disco Dub Mix of ‘Vex’, which super-charges the languid cyclical motif of the track, turning it into a club night adrenaline fuelled brainy raver, which matches up to the tale of youth, sex and chaos perfectly. Noise-pop goes electro in a big and beautiful way here, with the echoes of Tom Gardiner’s heavenly drum fills feeling like just one masterstroke among many.

Ok, well you have been rapidly peeling off layers for a while now, and now you’re nearing the crux of the matter. There is a universal truth that underpins Gardiner’s songwriting, it leaves it untouchable; and as long as this songwriter keeps peeling away with the same intensity, and obvious passion, the key elements to ‘the sound’ will always fall perfectly into place. Nowhere is this more apparent than on single closer ‘The Third Man’, an Annie solo cut, originally recorded as part of an ongoing side-project, Excellent Birds. It may indeed be the best song Gardiner has recorded to date. Sure, it’s melancholy, but so is the subject matter. ‘The Third Man’ focuses on the character of Anna in Carol Reed’s genre hopping classic film of the same name, but it’s born out of something more personal perhaps, as well as more obvious feminists texts than the film. This kind of intertextual narrative is Gardiner’s playground, and intertextuality is the key to providing layers of meaning. Gardiner sings with great poise and fragility, yet there are glimpses of something fierier, an underlying power, a control; add this to an intuitive melodic backdrop, led by trademark bass guitar and it achieves almost everything the film does, but it does it in less than five minutes.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.