- by Sean Hewson Rating:7 Release Date:2016-11-25 Label: The Quietus Phonographic Corporation
Sex Swing are Tim Cedar (keyboards), formerly of Ligament and front man of Part Chimp; Jason Stoll (bass) of Mugstar and Bonnacons of Doom; Colin Webster (sax) of Dead Neanderthals; Dan Chandler (vocals) and Stu Bell (drums), both previously of Dethscalator, and Jodie Cox (guitar) who is also in Earth. So, they know what they're doing. Sex Swing is their first album together.
A Natural Satellite opens with some exploratory noise. It's something of a scene setter with little explosions going off and slowly dying down for much of its 12 minutes. A pulse starts around the seven minute mark and a slow build up starts but doesn't quite take off.
Karnak is shorter and has an electronic pulse from the beginning. It's quite like Holy Fuck but a little looser. Dan Chandler makes his first appearance on vocals, sounding somewhere between Birthday Party-era Nick Cave and John Lydon. There is the hint of a vocal melody and it's a good track - loose but focused; noisy but with some tune.
The Murder of Maria Marten is slower - a drum pattern with sustained notes and fuzz bass over which Chandler wails from low down in the mix. The song has a Gothic drama to it, quite like the early Bad Seeds. The next track, Nighttime Worker, was the first thing that they put out in 2015. It's a mix of Funhouse sax, steady drumming and pulses. This time they're a bit like Gallon Drunk. Murder Witness again starts with a pulse and some Free Jazz sax. The drums are a little more tribal this time. The album finishes with the splendidly named Grace Jones. Eight minutes of ominous drones, honks, pounding and dark mutterings that builds into a pretty exciting row, almost approaching the intensity of Swans.
What surprised me about this album is that, instead of being an all-out Noise/Free Jazz assault, it has quite a sleazy, Noir feel to it. It suggests The Birthday Party, The Bad Seeds and Gallon Drunk in the atmosphere of the songs and also in the combination of structured and chaotic elements.