Soft Power Records have got a back catalogue that is on the same level as Sacred Bones to Art Fag. They have the weird and wonderful on their label. From Dirty Beaches split 7″ to Autumns, they are responsible (for the most part) for what I listen to on an almost daily basis. So it is with no surprise at all that they’ve sent me something else for me to fall hopelessly in love with.
This time, they’ve sent something they’ve never done before- a split LP. Knowing this is an entirely new thing made the whole listening process of the record much more exciting than most. This is a big deal for both bands and of course Soft Power Records.
The first half of the record belongs to The Wharves, and it’s ridiculous. They’re from London. They have a creepy late night alleyway danger feel about them. It’s the kind of music you’d imagine Jack The Ripper stalking the streets of Whitechapel to. It is entirely eerie but nothing short of brilliant. They do have a Garage rock atmosphere that floats throughout, but the thing that really stands out for me is the vocals. The vocals on Thick Syrup is just stunning, a brilliant way to start this LP. The vocals are on a different level. I’m not even going to try find a comparison because it will not work. But if you’re fans of September Girls and The Black Belles, then you’ll probably love The Wharves. Unhand Me is something that should be on Halloween playlists. Again, the vocals are divine but on this one they are slightly chilling. There’s a cryptic feel that flows throughout and I think that is what instantly draws you in. I probably couldn’t switch it off even if I wanted to. The Wharves make music that sounds like it should have been in a Vincent Price film. They stir up the beast inside of you and unleash a thousand furies. Bloody brilliant.
Scotland is the home to fine music. From my hero Shirley Manson to The Jesus And Mary Chain to The Creeping Ivies to The Rosy Crucifixion. Emily from the band was once described in an interview as Patsy Cline’s evil sister. To be described like that is awesome, more singers should aspire to that. Her vocals have an attitude that is found in the likes of Faith from PINS to Alison Mosshart from The Kills. There’s this infectious power there that just lures you in. I feel as if I should be wearing a cloak whilst listening to them (I’m actually wearing Superhero and a band t-shirt. The band? Loom.) They have a ghastly vibe; and I firmly believe that if music doesn’t scare you even a tiny bit, then there’s no point. Most of the bands I listen to have sinister sound. I think this makes up for the fact that I’m far too sensitive/gentle for my own good at times. Even if I’m not, music makes me feel tougher than I am. It’s like when you listen to the Ramones and you feel as if you can take on the world- you just don’t care. The Rosy Crucifixion and The Wharves have come together, and has led to something truly memorable and beautiful being created. I’ve heard a lot of new music this year, but to hear two of the most exciting bands around on one record like this just, as a music lover, well it feels like Christmas but better. Sinners has an enchanting voodoo feel about it. You can imagine Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (if he was alive obviously) just creeping up and yelling some crazy shit.
Both bands have made something that would sound perfect in a film from say, the 1920s. If I was 15 years old hearing this, it would sure make me go out and learn to play the guitar and create something as thrilling as this. This is what I want to hear. This is what I want on the airwaves and television sets. This split LP is something that sounds like it is from another time and planet. Play it loud and let everything around you just spiral out of control.
The LP is out 25th November 2013 on Soft Power Records.