Singapore Sling - Killer Classics - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Singapore Sling - Killer Classics

by Sean Hewson Rating:8 Release Date:2019-08-15
Singapore Sling - Killer Classics
Singapore Sling - Killer Classics

Icelandic band, Singapore Sling, have been going since 2000 and Killer Classics is their 10th album. The band have been lead from the start by Henrik Björnsson and Killer Classics is their fifth album on the dependable Fuzz Club label.

The album starts with the single, Suicide Twist. Urgent drum machine and a buzzing Suicide riff propel us straight into the song. Björnsson’s voice is pretty Mary Chain but with an Icelandic edge replacing the Scottish edge. If you like that Stooges/Suicide/Mary Chain vibe (and I really do), it’s a pretty great start and it respectfully pokes fun at that lineage all the way through. A descending, fuzzed-out bass line starts All The Way In. This is more Honey’s Dead-era JAMC – the slower, sleazier bass-driven grooves like on Teenage Lust. There’s a little bit of R.E.M.’s Crush With Eyeliner to the chorus. The guitar/noise solos throughout are joyous. Towards the end, Björnsson works himself up and starts dropping the f-bombs and making the unlikely sound sleazy (‘All the way in, like Santa Claus getting thin’). The slow, drum machine and acoustic groove of Sugar and Shite (great title) is up next. It turns out to be a pretty cunning pop song with some unexpected chord changes. A nice layer of noise comes in for the second verse to fill the arrangement out. Highway Reject has a Glam groove to it and a delayed vocal. It’s driven by a classic root note bass line (most tracks are). Filling out the arrangement this time are backing vocals from what sounds like a pack of beered-up ghouls, and possibly is. Lynchbilly is darker, getting towards the early Bad Seeds for Southern Gothic bad vibes. Again, they make a feature of the drums being provided by a drum machine to give it that Suicide edge. The lightness of sound also balances out the swampy, cough medicine feel of the rest of the song. A heavily reverbed Phil Spector beat kicks off It’s A Hit. The root note bass joins in, followed by Björnsson’s growl and the noisy guitars. There’s definitely a formula here but it is played with each time – the guitars here are more Garage. Things speed up a bit for Switchblade. The Garage feel continues and it has the feel of a party scene from Batman or The Addams Family – nearer to The Ghastly Ones or The Mummies. It’s back to the acoustics for Nothing Matters But Rock’N’Roll which, along with the slightly askew chord progression, gives the song the feel of the Pixies. And now it’s back to Glam for Underground Man. The sheer repetition of the Glam beat here really works well, giving it a Denim/Earl Brutus groove. They put a Digital Delay on the drum machine for Dub Swirl (as you’d expect from the title). In fact, they put everything through an effects pedal and the results are genuinely odd and it gives the album the change of pace that it needed. The album finishes with the harsh-but-fair summation that is Confusion Then Death. It starts with a growing cacophony of noise, quite like the orchestra at the end of A Day In The Life. Screaming feedback and layers of fuzz are added and it turns out to be another genuinely odd piece of work. What better way to finish off an album of very formula-based songs than with a shapeless sprawl.

If like me, you love The Jesus & Mary Chain, especially the Reid brothers with drum machine highs of the Darklands b-sides, you’ll love this. But there is much more than simple plagiarism going on here. There is a dry, knowing, sense of humour and the ability to throw the unexpected into the chord structure, the arrangement and the song structure. Often bands that inhabit this particular corner of the musical map (the Stooges/VU/Garage/Cramps/JAMC corner) are disappointingly humourless and sartorially-based. Singapore Sling look like genuine desperadoes and have the wit and wisdom to negotiate their way through the one-note bass lines and Spector rhythms. I listen to a lot of striped t-shirt/pointy boots shite, but this stands up - these guys get it.

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