Sunday, April 05, 2009

Rock Child
Ten
Rock Child
While the name may well lead you to approach this with caution bordering on malicious, disinterested ridicule, these New Yorkers are at home in the oddity community most often associated with their adopted home city – in the case of frontlady Tat Jane Bego, at least - over their rather poor name more suggestive of palm tree-lined boulevards and spandex-clad simpletons and swag-blaggers than this utterly deceptive crossover, under, sideways, down. So, thankfully not exponents of Aerosmith style balladeering for the most decrepit of old buzzards but a very curious amalgam of rock, metal and the arch artiness long of NYC repute. Rambling shambling arrangements with metallic-edged themes coexist alongside stuttering rhythms but a suitably NYC looseness and idiosyncracy is also not going to be passed over with just scant asides in this script. There are shards and smudges of Blondie and Lydia Lunch’s disdainful experimentalism, yet married to dated, but endearingly durable, euro metal possessed of the primordial looseness inherent in the early hardcore scene. Although far from identical, there are similarities to Kate Bush in delivery (possibly helped along by Bego’s Dutch descent) had she been a product of Big Apple’s bowels rather than Home Counties kook, as the vocals frequently fly off the handle and ascend buildings by shinning up drainpipes and inching along windowsills, playing cat and mouse between disembodied shriekery and atonal, hard-of-hearing, harpy of the radioactively glowing lands. The guitar styles, heedlessly – laudably! - throwing stabbed rhythms interspersed with arpeggios that suddenly descend into chainmail unlinking interludes, suggest they may ideally have been after a heavier sound but, being unsigned, perhaps budget constraints put paid to further production. As it is, despite having a definite demo quality to it, which in this case is a damn good thing, there’s an intelligent design here that the name and somewhat amateurish sleeve work kept hidden. It’s intriguing working out if this is a happy, classic, punk-rock style coincidence - an entirely accidental fusion of forms where the Siouxsie meets Toyah or Hazel O’Connor vocals lend it an ethereal, sci-fi aura, atop the deliciously cantankerous and unpredicatable guitar squall a la classic early Hole. Their stated love of Neil Young alongside the regular metal influences indicates a method behind, and probably hovering about and inbetween, the brash banshee abrasiveness to unite in the unique isobar they seem to have randomly and recklessly stumbled across on their way to speed metal, especially, as they do frequently, the tendency towards the epic anthem shared by both the major league metal titans as well as the sprawling voyages undertaken by several late sixties / seventies country rocking scruffs is indulged. Maybe a full-scale production would allow extra tangents to be investigated, though what is gained in power and poise may well suppress the gauche ingenuity in the depths here. Just ditch the name. In fact ditch it, concrete over said ditch instantly, do not mark the spot nor ever speak of it again. Promises of metal for error-fuelled nights as well as possible colossal sojourns through country curses and arid crescents are far more than was expected. Go ahead, ignore all insistent urges to not bother and surprise yourself. Pleasantly or otherwise is entirely up to you. Stu Gibson

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