Tag Archives: WTATDR

//We tHrEE aND tHe DeAtH Rattle //

WTATDR01

In a slightly irresponsible move We Three and the Death Rattle suggested I might like to review their eponymous first full album. This is dangerous because I’m not a music critic and am liable to use the opportunity for some kind of self vindication of cultural back story and would probably use the sort of snarky and convoluted turn of phrase a professional would never employ. Oh well……

WTATDR are a Leicester based trio of musicians who I’ve seen a couple of times. The first time supporting Josh T Pearson, the second time supporting Mike Watts Il Sogno Del Mariano project. They are an excellent live band. They are loud, committed, skilled and without overt pretence. The singer fills out the sound with maracas and a skill for Theremin teasing as the the others pound out primal bluesy, ripped up r’n’r without the hint of an affected accent. They prowl on their musical references avoiding pastiche and obvious reference. You might find the odd sign post in the lyrics – witchery, black cats, jackknife truck wrecks, swamp dwellers, playboy dolls suicide – more colour than narrative. The broken hearts seem grateful for being given a sense of purpose, alligators bite as it’s in their nature and bombs are built to explode – so lets get on and do this thing.

WTATDR Cover

Playing the album a few times over the last week I’m convinced that there is some local Grebo DNA filtering through. That pounded out in local boozer back room sound, sticky on the floor Converse soles, tattoos and check print shirt styling (sans sleeves) & fuzzed up glam punk mid-west buzz cut reminds me off ancient Leicester band Gaye Bykers on Acid (and in turn Bomb Party & Crazy Head) all urban funsters building on their teen influences and scratching grooves in vinyl of their own. I still have a deep fondness for that period of music. The missing link between an mis-remembered antecedent and the next big thing that forgot to happen. Grebo was an industrial post-NWOBHM blip that was shouted down by Grunge. It was way to hardcore and poorly scrubbed for quiet/loud dynamics being occupied by anthemic hooks, glam zombies, broken glitter balls and fuzzed up noise.

This is Hey Detonator!

A couple of reviews I’ve found elsewhere suggest the song set doesn’t progress but there’s no need to look for that. Of the 11 tracks, four that I’m aware of have been single or EP lead songs. These are the most rounded songs with the deeper grooves (Alligators, InPatients, Hey Detonator, Split Lips) and have probably had the most studio time spent on them. There are distorted textures and layers in most of the other tracks that are worth the attention – a flute, an organ break, a particularly squally guitar, a almost utterly dog audible Theremin break, a percussive and jazzy drum fill- all well executed sketches which, give them a decent advance and bunch more studio time would fill out and and push up the pulse rate. The guitar sound is really knocking on the door of the classic Cramps – broken blues, sub-pop – and with more overdubs and Dinosaur Jr sized stacks might break out and fly even higher.

This is Alligators….

As mentioned at the beginning they are a really good live band. They look, act and sound the part & play with conviction. Give them some bigger PA, larger audiences and longer sets and they will most likely wail & growl even louder. Listen to the CD on 10, 11 if you have it, it’s r’n’r after all. And they have a Theremin which is a total win, so everything’s groovy baby. I’m looking forward to seeing them again.

Track List

01: Down Out And Deep Fried
02: Hot Neptune
03: Stitches And Winners
04: Split Lips
05: Inpatients
06: Bipolarcoaster
07: Alligators
08: Double Or Quits
09: Hey Detonator!
10: You’re My Ammunition
11: Bitten By Dust

Released by http://www.pawpurrrecords.com

You can buy it here on Bandcamp which is way more Rock’n’Roll than iTunes http://pawpurr.bandcamp.com

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Josh T. Pearson

Wednesday 30th March

Josh T Pearson @ The Bodega, Nottingham.

The bar downstairs started to get pretty packed when the doors to the venue remained closed an hour after advertised opening. The Bodega isn’t huge and given some of the other venues on this tour we were lucky to get to see this in such an ‘intimate’ surrounding.

Eventually we were allowed upstairs and I can only suspect the place was at capacity.

First on was Richard Warren. He played a great set and whilst I hadn’t heard the name before I’ve since seen his history and it explains why he was so good. I’ll definitely look into his new stuff. Described elsewhere as ‘British Americana’, but essentially powerful, stripped back songs, well played and with good use of analog sound kit and classic instruments. He used a Fender combo on the last two songs which I doubt I’ll get close to on Amplitube but it would be worth trying.

After a quick change over next up we met ‘We Three and the Death Rattle’. A young trio comprising guitar/vox, snare (bass drum abandoned roadside) and vocals. The singer Amy also had some interesting flirtations with a mini Theremin type item. They have a definite sound and game plan and played with commitment.

‘We Three’ had travelled up from Brighton with Josh & instruments etc and it seems arrived only an hour or so before playing. Given that Josh must be nearly 7 foot tall I don’t imagine it was a Micra.

After a minimal blast of dry ice, Josh came on stage and plugged in. A commanding figure in black suit and steer horned belt, he’s far more amiable than his recent amazing album ‘Last of the Country Gentlemen’ would lead you believe. From joke asides and a bit of self-deprecation he breaks up the tension between songs both for his benefit and the audiences.

As other live reviews have mentioned he opened with ‘Rivers of Babylon’ which whilst it sounds out of kilter fits perfectly given it’s religious theme and when delivered without any irony or nod to either the Boney M or the Jimmy Cliff  versions. This opener segued seamlessly into ‘Sweetheart I Ain’t Your Christ’

….and then we went off into an evening of incredible songs and the most sensitive guitar playing I’ve seen in a long time. It’s true to say you could hear a pin drop whilst he played (or even the subtle shuffling of plastic glasses behind the bar). The audience was totally attentive throughout and the close of each song (generally indicated by a quick stamp or a slap on his guitar) was given exuberant applause. Most of the songs exceed 10mins and are lyrically hard work and harrowing. Even Nick Caves ‘The Boatmans Call’ has more happy moments, but it’s good to find some real music these days that has any emotional depth. Themes range from domestic violence through to infidelity, all delivered with the potential to go from a teeth grinding whisper to an anguished yell. Variously described as harrowing, epic, desolate & cathartic I would say on the whole the songs leave me lost for words. There’s definitely an uncomfortable beauty in the experience.

It would have been great to see him play with accompaniment but I guess getting Warren Ellis and his violin on stage would entail excessively high levels of beard insurance.

The set closed with an unexpected sing-along to ‘The Devil is on the run……lets have some fun’ with pretty much 100% audience participation. The man is currently a force of nature and I hope he finds a tour manager / merchandiser /driver / sound tech (who can cook) so that the tour rolls on.

He should be on Jools Holland soon so he will hopefully find a wider audience, as did Seasick Steve. Buy his album, in fact buy two and give one to a friend.

Here’s a great version of ‘Woman, When I’ve Raised Hell’ from a French TV show.

Links below to some other interesting sites. The pictures included here use all sorts of apps’ including Hipstamatic, Swanko Lab, Pic Grunger & Toon Paint. Use them if you want but credit me a link!

http://www.facebook.com/wethreeandthedeathrattle

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Warren_(musician)

http://www.richardwarren.info/6/Richard_Warren.html

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Country-Gentlemen-Josh-Pearson/dp/B004IJESY8

http://thequietus.com/articles/05961-josh-t-pearson-last-of-the-country-gentlemen-review

http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/entertainmentnews/Review-Josh-T-Pearson-Bodega/article-3395390-detail/article.html

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