6 July 2016
Fret! - Killing Susan EP/ Attune/Cowboy single
A review in two halves! Both releases here are from Newcastle based Noise Rockers Fret! and I was actually only expecting the one release to be honest. Steve from Fret! got in touch a few days ago and asked if I would review their latest release, now Fret! are a band I have seen a few times in Newcastle and they have always impressed me with their ability to make my ears ring and to make me feel excited. I might not be able to jump around much and I hide at the back, but I always enjoy their performances immensely. So when a band I admire ask if I could review them, it is really a no-brainer and I tried not to sound all fan boy. The part of the email that interested me the most was asking if I wanted the release sent in vinyl, something very old school and rather nice. I was going to invest in some of their vinyl anyway on the next show I went to, but it was nice to be sent it as well. What I did not expect though was the Brucey bonus Attune/Cowboy 7" as well, which was a nice touch and very pleasant surprise. So as they were so nice to send both releases, I will review both of them as well.
"Killing Susan" starts off the EP, a slow and methodical guitar looping around with the drums and bass coming in to add spice to the song. It is focused song, it keeps everything incredibly tight and to the point. With minimal vocals and a curious sense of determination that makes the unit so tight, then the distortion peddle is hit and the noise level increases dramatically to make a glorious racket that sounds timeless to these ears. "Sonic Poof!" starts off with a frantic introduction and sounds as if it could easily start to come apart, but all the way through it keeps it right on the edge of chaos and anarchy. After the frantic start, it hits a groove that goes on throughout the song with the tried and tested stop/start pattern and a wonder amount of feedback buzz that is looped into the sound as well. The guitars wonder every now and then, but it is soon back to that droning march and then a return to the manic passage from the beginning of the song. The midway point of the EP is marked with "Boner M" and from the beginning, this song is a slow burner that builds upon another looping riff that has a surf rock tone to the guitar and the bass/drums are the powerful bases which everything else erupts from. It does take its time to reach the point, but when it eventually gets there it is all worth that patience and you are introduced to a noise/no-wave section that feels like the band are letting rip after all that structure and construction. It is a brilliant song which peaks at the perfect point. The penultimate song is called "Swamp Ting" which starts off with the bass laying down the pattern and the riff from the guitar following the lead, it has a mixture of surf rock and noise that is the main calling card of the band which goes from psychedelic drone one moment and then it goes to flat out noise the next - long story short, it is brilliant. Ending the EP is the short, sharp track named "Punch". The band end this EP with an explosive song that goes out with all guns blazing and making a glorious noise. It is the pinnacle for this album, it brings together everything in a final blaze of glory that does not so much kick down the door, as smash it into tiny pieces and leaves with all the noise reverbing around you in one final act of anarchy.
"Attune" was released in December 2014 and from the beginning you can hear the falling drums and surf rock guitar that this was created with a sense of attack and determination, the song is fierce from the start and is only one of two tracks across both releases that has vocals. It is a brilliant mixture of styles and it hits all the right spots. The second song on this 7" is called "Cowboy" and this is my favourite of the two songs, with its huge opening attack, fast paced drumming, larger than life bass and the slow-down in the middle which gives you a chance to get your breath back before everything starts to get noisy once more - what is there not to love on this song?
The 'Attune/Cowboy' single is a good release, short and compact that showcases the band in the right way over two songs. Neither of the track outstay their welcome and it is brilliant, albeit very short introduction to the band. The "Killing Susan EP" is another step up and you can see the growth in the band, taking their sound to another level once more. When playing live, this band are hypnotic and mesmerising; recorded they have that same magic and both releases are fantastic. There is a link to the Fret! bandcamp page below - buy them now!
Marks for 'Killing Susan EP' - 5 out of five
Top track for 'Killing Susan EP' - Punch
Marks for 'Attune/Cowboy' single - 4 out of five
Top track for 'Attune/Cowboy' single - Cowboy
You can purchase & stream both Killing Susan EP & Attune (as well as other recordings) at the Fret! Bandcamp page here
You can purchase Killing Susan EP on Amazon here (but get it from the Fret! Bandcamp link above)
You can purchase Attune from Amazon here (but get it from the Fret! Bandcamp page above)
You can stream Killing Susan EP on Spotify here
You can stream Attune on Spotify here
You can stream Killing Susan EP on Tidal here
You can stream Attune on Deezer here
You can stream Killing Susan EP on Tidal here
You can stream Attune on Tidal here
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