Saturday, July 4, 2015

"10 000 Russos": Music Review

This Portuguese trio continues the promise of Fuzz Club labelmates Sonic Jesus. Like their Neither Virtue Nor Anger earlier this year, the Russo's self-titled second album packs a one-two punch. First, guitar-driven drones wallop you. Joy Division's metallic grind, post-punk's relentless beat, and distorted or detached vocals buried in the mix convey texture among torment. Naming the first track after early drummer Karl Burns of The Fall is fitting. Even if this song recalls the Wooden Shijps repetition more than that Manchester ensemble, the next track, "USVSUS" offers a Mark E. Smith-like voice ghosting the fringes of this echoed plunge. It begins with a catchy martial beat, and then kicks in gear harder through the effects pedals. It turns brittle. Heavier, it thrusts itself into Suicide territory, keyboards like sirens. Perky drums from vocalist João Pimenta dominate, over the forceful duo of Pedro Pestana on guitar and André Couto on bass, for an impressive arrangement.

"Baden Baden Baden" and "Barreiro" sustain the intensity. The first complements Joy Division floating into space rock. The second chants over a rapid whoosh, as if heirs to Hawkwind. Finally, the cleverly named paired medley of "Shtakhanovets" and "Kalume" stir tribal beats and hints of Eastern influences. The later moments conjure up the percussive drones of The Black Angels' early days, or the formative ones of P.i.L, when both of those outfits dared to be different. Let's hope 10 000 Russos remain inventive, for this points to a bright, or as the band may prefer to color it, a dark doom future.
(Amazon US 6-24-15)

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