by Chris Hatch
Guitars interlock, and ideas swing around wildly on the joyfully frenetic, over-caffeinated latest EP from London punks, career
Produced by drummer Jonny Coddington in a handful of days, Letting Out The Slack’s angular, barbed sound, and smash-and-grab attitude puts career in a scene that’s a little crowded at the minute. But the recent Bingo Records’ signings take a wonderfully weird sideways look at things. This isn’t the pithy, point-making post-punk of the likes of Idles, nor is it the gloomy dread of Fontaines D.C – instead, it’s the sound of a band who have glugged down a cocktail of Devo, Gang Of Four, and The Young Knives, wiped their mouths with the back of their hands, and dived straight into recording whatever was on their mind at that exact moment in time.
Previous singles Natural Energy and Microwave have shown two sides of a flipped coin – the former an onslaught of upbeat, interlacing guitars, frothing vocals, and wandering bass lines; the latter, a hypnotic track where the hookline replicates and tessellates to form an odd, slow-burning, Dadaist mantra – ‘my head feels like a microwave meal!’ repeats Joe Leppard.
But it’s the tracks that make up the rest of the EP that fully show off career’s head-swivelling knack for blending multiple ideas and song parts together – the racing 100 Karat Gold at one point threatens to descend into a Franz Ferdinand stomper, before eventually screeching to an abrupt half. Cup has the wonkiness of Primus and Devo, guitarist Jack Sutherland bunny-hopping between hacking guitar sounds, and wonderfully chiming overdubs – the whole thing spirals into the kind of outro that a band like Hookworms would have let reel away for four or five minutes.
Final track, Dripless Perception, perfectly demonstrates career’s short, flickering attention-span – veering from thudding, two-step psychobilly, to thunderous, rock n roll – stopping and starting with each one of Leppard’s guttural pleas: ‘If you find it so easy, why do you make it look so hard?’
Taut, elastic, and bouncy – Letting Out The Slack is a short, sharp, slap of a post-punk record that isn’t afraid to explore the unexpected, and have fun while it does so.
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