Anthroprophh - Omegaville - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Anthroprophh - Omegaville

by Sean Hewson Rating:10 Release Date:2018-03-30
Anthroprophh - Omegaville
Anthroprophh - Omegaville

In 1998 Rocket Recordings put out their first release – a split single by The Heads and Lilydamwhite. Twenty years later one member from each band (guitarist Paul Allen and bassist Gareth Turner respectively) are still with Rocket. Their band (also featuring Turner’s partner from Big Naturals. drummer Jesse Webb) are called Anthroprophh. Omegaville is their third record on Rocket. With this album Allen is looking at Can’s Tago Mago and attempting to emulate the mixture of short, tight tracks and sprawling weird-outs.

Omegaville absolutely explodes out of the blocks with 2029. Under two-minutes of Wah-wah, shredding and Ladbroke Grove Hippie-Punk (Hawkwind, Pink Fairies, etc.). Dead Inside isn’t much longer and is equally explosive. At this point I think the Album of the Year debate is all over. Ferocious Fuzz/Wah Insanity is very much my heartland. All three players are super-fit and at the top of their game. Housing Act 1980 (‘right to buy’) is closer to Crass until Allen and Turner crank out a huge riff and head off in the direction of the Japanese Psychedelic Speed Freaks (High Rise, etc. ). Oakmoll is slower, growlier and more evil. So far, each track has been longer than the previous track. Anthroprophh are super-tight on this, moving effortlessly through the various sections of the track. The excellently-named Sod (if it isn’t already, it should be the name of a Crust-Punk band) follows. The pace is still relentless. The general sound is somewhere between Space Ritual and Superfuzz Bigmuff. There is a huge solo from Allen and, believe me, you want Allen to solo hugely. I normally despise lead guitar but there are exceptions and I don’t know that there’s anyone as ferociously out-there as Allen at the moment. People won’t like this, but when I read about the MC5 and the Pink Fairies, I expected them to sound like this. When they didn’t, I was disappointed and confused.

The great titles continue with Death Salad but the track lengths have stopped increasing. Death Salad is a sinister beast – a Stoner riff and whispered vocal, like Sabbath lost in drugs/studio psychosis. There is even the suggestion of a middle eight before the riff destroys everything. The energy level drops as we head further into the weirdness that flows between us on Why Are You Smiling? Jesse Webb powers the song with a particularly slamming and relentless beat. Allen helps himself to twin solos, one seemingly in a totally different key. The weirdness builds with strange chanting of the title joining the twin solos. I’m reminded of something unsettling from Hammer or Amicus. Or some of the insanity from Hawkwind’s first album. Anthrprophh change gears for I, a much easier, skippier rhythm – it’s closer to Hendrix and Allen uses the Planet Caravan vocal effect. It’s actually quite like Dead Meadow. But, after two minutes, all hell breaks loose. The Fuzz levels increase and Allen starts howling like Gibby Haynes. From here on it is a total Freak-Out, like Tab by Monster Magnet. Maschine has another easy rhythm with hints of Hendrix’s Manic Depression in the riff. Again, they can’t keep the weirdness at bay. A flipping flute pops up. Vocals are whispered. Solos are taken almost constantly and on several tracks. It ends with a ghostly soundscape that has the atmosphere of a Lovecraft story. Webb starts Human Beast, joined shortly afterwards by Turner. The tribal rhythm continues until it is joined by (what else?) a Wah-wah guitar solo that lasts for the whole second half of the track.

Human Beast segues into OMEGAVILLE/THOTHB. The 14 minute track has more in terms of structure. It’s a spoken word piece with a more defined riff. Subtly the tension builds as the vocal sinks back into the mix, replaced by a drone which is then smashed by a wall of fuzz. Chaos reigns, until everything stops after nine minutes, reconfigures and becomes another unsettling spoken word piece. Journey out of OMEGAVILLE and into the........... is the final track. There should be nowhere left to go but this track is 21 minutes long. Anthroprophh take their time in setting it up with whooshing noises and found sounds. Allen scratches at his guitar, playing little Beefheart licks or Michael Karoli tributes. After four minutes he decides on a riff and everything starts to come into focus. The sound is quieter. A million miles away from the sounds of track one. The vocal is the only thing that is distorted. Throughout this album guitar lines and vocals appear across two or three tracks at the same time. Sometimes they are unrelated. It all adds to the Sound of Confusion. In complete contrast to the first record Anthroprophh are now just happy to let things unfold at a leisurely pace. The album finishes with what can only be described as Tribal Weirdness.

Double albums can be tricky beasts. Anthroprophh don’t care, they want it to be tricky. The first album is the wildest thing that I’ve heard in years. The second album drips with freaky and unsettling weirdness – somewhere in between Hawkwind by Hawkwind, the Butthole Surfers’ Locust Abortion Technician and Tab by Monster Magnet. It is all exactly as designed. It’s been a pleasure and a privilege.

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