Swollen (End of Time)
Even the drums on Swollen sound like 1989, with guitars and saxophone thick and distanced like chiming church bells. It is a slab of raw and wicked things, and wailing. After a litany of singles and cassettes, Swollen is Stickers’ first LP—a skronk of noise hailing from the netherworlds of post-punk.
The vocals are atonal, like Surfer Rosa–era Frank Black when he didn’t feel like singing, and wounded, as on “Sacajawea,” the album’s centerpiece—one of the only songs with audible discernible words—or on the opener, “Swollen Future,” shouting, “Your wound goes deeper than mine.” This is a band that plays to their strengths, most notably the saxophone that squeaks around all the breaks, sounding more like a lead guitar feeding back, filled with chorus and reverb like sour jelly. Bands with a kitsch instrument tend to suffer the “Jethro Tull fate” (“that-band-with-the-flute” fate), but simply categorizing them as “that band with a saxophone” would be a mistake. Though the similarities and same-tempo-ness of the songs does wear thin halfway through side two, songs like “(Swoon),” a relatively quiet track, take a break from the perpetually buzzy and upbeat record as a whole and help Swollen out immensely.
Stickers are familiar enough with their influences that I doubt they even think about it. They just play what they like in the way that expresses what they’re feeling: a lot of frustration, from the sound of it, turning it into something constructive, fun. Thank goodness. Isn’t that the point of being in a band in the first place? ERIC WILLIGER
アイスクリーム! パワー! 自転車!
Shonen Knife! 少年ナイフ - Burning Farm (焼畑農業のうた), K Records, 1983 !
Immoral Roberts! 少年ナイフ! Beat Happening!
What!? Are those Pogs? No, they’re the Shivas buttons that come free with every pre-order of… You Know What To Do [KLP252].
Let me show you I can really knock ‘em down… Cat dance! 猫ダンス!
Carolyn Riggs (Bouquet), Mira Billotte, Allison Wolfe, Calvin Johnson (The Hive Dwellers), Jessica Espelita at Ooga Booga 2, Los Angeles, CA., Sept. 12, 2014
Allison Wolfe took this photog at the Hive Dwellers show in L.A. on Sept. 12, 2014