Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Falls 'Dirtbox'

EP Review

Fuck Rock – that’s what this review is about. It is the genre-label under which raucous Welsh foursome Falls choose to file the music they make; elsewhere they call it Gash Pop and Sasscore. Well then. If any of this offends you, you’re really not going to deal well with Falls, but don’t worry, Coldplay are still making music. The chances are, though, that if you’ve kept reading even this far you’re intrigued, if nothing else, and oh, how richly rewarded you will be…

Falls approach their music in broadly-speaking the same way in which a tornado might go about changing a lightbulb, and the results are absolutely mind-blowing, every bit as powerful and overblown as you would hope. Clocking in at just shy of 12 minutes, ‘Dirtbox’ is a four-track manifesto which harks back to the days when an EP really meant something, as opposed to simply constituting the first four tracks a band could shit out in a six-hour studio session just to keep the SoundCloud page ticking over. You could call it a mission statement, although that seems a rather grandiose term for the first known Fuck Rock record in existence, and Falls would probably be the first to agree.

Sounding like Every Time I Die and Pulled Apart By Horses tumbling down a flight of stairs after three packs of Pro Plus, Falls’ sound is nothing if not full-on, exploding out of the speakers like a cluster bomb spewing forth chunky riffs, weighty breakdowns and infectious vocals. There is a deliciously addictive quality to Falls, who, like PABH, sidestep the stone-cold seriousness which can plague technically-accomplished heavy guitar music in favour of just having an absolute riot; when a band lives for the music they make and really cuts loose on every note they play it comes across, and ‘Dirtbox’ is shot through with an addictive positive energy, a double-concentrate to the pretenders’ barley water.

First track ‘Man Bites Cobra to Death’ explodes into existence before making like a rollercoaster, rising and falling with such thrilling speed that it never seems quite safe; it might make you throw up, too. Things get even more fractious and creative on ‘GütterHaus’, while the tempo drops on the stomping ‘Hammers?’ – at least until it, too, gets its thrash on, hitting as hard as its namesakes. EP closer ‘Something About Buffaloes’ changes precisely nothing about the formula which works so well on the other three tracks, and is all the better for it. Falls have constructed an anarchic sonic fingerprint which is all their own, and at this stage of their career they are absolutely right to curl those fingers into a fist and smack the listener between the eyes with it.

There is certainly an element of blunt-force power in Falls’ music, but underestimate ‘Dirtbox’ at your peril – the playing is absolutely watertight, and the skill and musicality involved in restraining the eclectic ideas into song-shaped structures is breathtaking, when you stop to think about it. But you probably won’t get a chance – Falls don’t let technique take over, preferring to let the music do the talking, or should that be bawling, and you really have no option but to sit down, shut up and listen. The day we see a Fuck Rock category in HMV – sorry, on Amazon – will be a fine day indeed.  
Buy 'Dirtbox' (Name your price) 

Watch 'Hammers'