Wasted Shirt-Fungus II (CD Famous Class Records)
Supergroups are a weird one, arenít they? Itís incredible fun to play music guess what with friends. What happened when (enter unlikely musician here) and (another unlikely musician) made some music together? One of my favourites was what if Kerry King teamed up with MIA and Gene Kupra while Vangelis produced. Probably awful, but there might be something great in there. It canít be any worse the Them Crooked Vultures can it? Brain Chippendale (Lighting Bolt) and Ty Segall managed to align their schedules and record an album under the name Wasted Shirt. Wasted Shirt is one of those dream lines ups, but it differs two reasons. Firstly, it is real and secondly it is incredibly good.
You are probably trying to imagine what this would sound like. Unrelenting, blast beat, drumming, and really scuzzy guitars. On paper you are correct. This is exactly what ĎFungus IIí, the album they recorded, sounds like. However, this is only half the story. The music is visceral but incredibly catchy. Far more than youíd expect it do be. Instead of the walls of feedback and sonic assault, Chippendale and Segall deliver half an hour of feels like an ideal distillation of both of their day jobs but doesnít feel like theyíve tried to shoehorn themselves together. This feels more like a musical love in.
Opening track ĎAll is Lostí isnít just an apt title, but a pretty good indication of what to expect from ĎFungus IIí. Searing feedback and explosive scattershot drumming welcome us to the album. The verse is just blistering drumming while the lyrics are bellowed before a filthy guitar slices through everything like a lightsabre through, well, anything a lightsabre chooses to slice through. Not only does it set up the album, it also shows that these two can definitely play well together. ĎZeppelin 5í follows suit. Itís more of the same, but the guitars create elegant hypnotic drones while Chippendaleís drumming is absolutely rampant. Itís unsure if Chippendale and Segall think this actually sounds like Led Zep, or if itís just a pithy song title, but one thing is certain this is an absolute monster that demands as many repeat plays as you can give it. As the album progresses things get more frayed and distressed. The albumís closer ĎFour Strangers Entered the Cement at Duskí is one of the standout moments on ĎFungus IIí. It opens with broody guitars and, for Chippendale, basic drumming. Imagine a low tempo Black Sabbath instrumental full dark riffs and you are close. A third of the way through itís still keeping on this measured tempo. However, as the song progresses a wall of feedback and fuzz gets more intense and intense. As each wave hits it gets more frenzied and potent. Then, all of a sudden, at the halfway point everything changes. The song shifts and the chains are off. It all kicks off, before getting locked into the groove again. But this is a different groove. Searing feedback and synths are at the fore and now the drums and guitars have been relegated to the back. The final third is just a white squall of noise and confusion. I canít think of a better album closer this year.
ĎFungus IIí is an album that I know I like but trying to define the reasons isnít as easy as it should be. At its heart itís an album full of guitar riffs and drums. But there is more to it than that. It also features an intensity of playing that is assertive but not aggressive. It gets right in your face and screams, but it realises that you arenít its enemy, or the reason for its lairy behaviour. You are a like minded friend. It screams at you in solidarity rather than separation. Itís an album that bludgeons you about for 30 minutes until you are unaware what is up, left or how colours work. Letís hope that ĎFungus IIí wasnít a one off, there is feels like Chippendale and Segall, as well as having a blast, still have plenty to say. NR