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Barrelhaus – Azimuth (Self released)

Fans of guitars dripping with scuzz simply cannot ignore Oxford’s Barrelhaus, whose second album, Azimuth (definitely not to be confused with the Brazilian jazz-funk combo) was released in May.

All Aboard‘ comes at you with all guns blazing, with a filthy yet commercial spirit in the vein of Queens Of The Stone Age at their creative zenith, before the slower ‘G.A.D‘ inhabits the sonic headspace of early seventies classic rock, with Tony Iommi or Jimmy Page being brought to mind. So you think you have a handle on what you’re getting with Azimuth, and then they hit you with ‘How Did You Die Today, My Dear?‘ which is more in line with the 90s thrash metal of Anthrax‘s version of Joe Jackson‘s ‘Got The Time‘ which made me go all misty eyed with nostalgia at the memory of days in the moshpit of my youth!

Diet Cheese‘ (which for some reason I think is one of my favourite song titles of recent years) is kind of like Trompe Le Monde era Pixies crossed with The Birthday Party and a bit of The Cramps thrown in for good measure – are you seeing a theme here? Yep, if you take the best traits from a load of classic artists, you’re on to a surefire winner, and Barrelhaus have certainly honed this vision to their benefit. So you get the wonderfully titled ‘Your Friends Don’t Have To Like Each Other‘, which is what I would envisage Nirvana could have gone on to sound like, had Kurt Cobain not tragically taken his own life that fateful day in 1994. Weirdly though, given that I’ve said that, Azimuth doesn’t really sound anything like Foo Fighters, with ‘Red Rag‘ mixing that alt. rock sound with that of an old school fifties Western film. That’s an amazing track, probably my personal favourite here.

The blues rock of Cream or Free is given a post-millennial makeover on ‘Ballad Of The Former Mariner‘, whereas ‘Down With His Ship‘ is like a bastardised mix of Jacob’s Mouse, Rob Zombie and Levitation‘s ‘Nadine‘ put through the musical blender to create a Frankenstein’s monster of a tune, before the final curtain comes down with the off kilter ballad(?) that is ‘Jaws‘, featuring the baffling lyrics: “Jetlag infinitum / Sin eater, pack horse / Diamond and carbon / Centre of the Universe / Que cera, hoorah / There’s no Babajega / Laughing in the shadows.” I genuinely have no idea whatsoever what on earth Marc Challans is going on about here, but what I do know is that I like it. And that’s all that matters really!


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.