Mamaleek make ugly music. I don’t say this to be mean or disparage their clear talents. I say it because they make ugly music. It’s a statement of fact. Disjointed, fuzzy, full of unnerving production tricks and a thick, horrific sheen of grime and dirt – underneath which – rests a very good album indeed. The trick to this release is unearthing the sound underneath the noise, and basking in sonic terrorism become art.
With opening track “Eating Unblessed Meat” they set their stall up with confidence and a dearth of fucks. Guitars are so distorted and covered in fuzzy, incomprehensible static that you initially have a feeling that you are listening to a bootleg of some dingy club show. Vocals are barked and brittle – the screams and whines of a demented soul, the bass is a feral animal growling with every pluck and strum, drums are massive walls of noise that cascade as though someone has thrown the kit and player down an elevator shaft.
It’s noisy. It’s angry. It’s obsidian dark – and it is compelling as all fucking hell. Imagine Idles playing CBGBS with instruments that are on fire. Imagine At The Drive In fronted by Buster Bloodvessel, imagine if you will a punk band comprised of heroin jacked jazz musicians with an axe to grind. It’s chaotic, its angry, and it is a perfect example of how music can be rewarding if you just dig into the soul of the piece, and not take everything at face value. “Elsewhere” sounds like Tom Waits joined The Stooges, gruff jazz infused vocals ooze over the music, music that is compelling, captivating and genuinely thrilling – but sounds like it is being amplified via speakers half submerged in porridge. It is not a release for the faint of heart, nor the impatient and intolerable. But, give it time, consideration and attention – and you will discover some genuine moments of startling beauty amongst the decay and the feedback and the dirty production.
One for the connoisseurs, maybe, but given time enough and an open mind, you may well have this in your top ten releases for the year come December.