Posted on October 08 2021
Arriving ahead European tour dates starting tomorrow, the new album from The Gluts is out in the world today
Out in the world today, ‘Ungrateful Heart’ is the fourth album from Milan-based group The Gluts. Whilst their previous releases traded in an explosive psychedelic noise-rock, ‘Ungrateful Heart’ sees the Italian four-piece hone in a more post-punk-indebted sound. Although no less abrasive and confrontational in its utilising of ear-piercing feedback and hard-hitting riffs, the band say that the songs here primarily take cues from the likes of Fugazi, Gang of Four, the PiL-Pistols canon and the Campana brothers’ long adoration of Italian and American hardcore punk. The album arrives off the back of 2019’s ‘Dengue Fever Hypnotic Trip’ LP and tours and festival dates around the UK, Europe and South Africa. You can stream 'Ungrateful Heart' in full below.
Laid down over a tireless week living side by side and working in the studio around the clock, The Gluts – comprised of Claudia Cesana (bass/vocals), Bruno Bassi (drums) and Nicolò and Marco Campana (vocals/synths and guitar, respectively) – recorded ‘Ungrateful Heart’ with Dutch producer and close collaborator Bob de Wit (A Place To Bury Strangers, Gnod, The Sonics). On the sessions, the intensity of which is mirrored in the fierce uncompromising attitude of the music itself, the band said: “Bob’s contribution to this album was essential. He pushed us beyond our limits. It was difficult, we can’t hide it, but it really was worth it.”
Buried deep in this album, the core of the Gluts’ sound remains. Album-opener ‘Mashilla’ is a ferocious noise-rock onslaught in which Nicolo’s formidable screams lacerate through a wall of overdriven guitars and feedback. Elsewhere, ‘Black Widow’ is driven by an unrelenting post-punk bassline and, true to form, builds itself into a tinnitus-inducing blast of noise. The face-melting eight minute instrumental that closes the album ‘Eat Acid See God’ is loud to the point of hallucinogenic, owing to the conditions it was made in: “It came out during a session held in a gloomy atmosphere with only dim lights in the rehearsal room, despite the sun shining bright and long that late summer afternoon. The first few synth notes we started with turned into a sticky musical slime. We felt like flies stuck in honey – angry and desperate – and consequently it’s the most psychedelic song on the album.”
However, songs like ‘Love Me Do Again’, ‘Bye Bye Boy’ and ‘FYBBD’ also introduce us to a whole new side of the band. Rooted in a more classic 70s punk/80s hardcore sound, they reveal a deceptively hedonistic and borderline-catchy side to the band. Largely written and recorded over the course of the pandemic, the album’s more playful side is perhaps of little surprise. Penned by drummer Bruno Bassi whilst in lockdown, ‘Love Me Do Again’ was inspired by “an unexpected excitement caused by imagining how great it would be to be all together again.” Out of this isolation also came ‘Layla, Lazy Girl From The Moon’. Perhaps the biggest curveball on the album, the song’s sublime, slow-burning dream pop is the work of bassist Claudia Cesana, whose original version of the song was a simple solo phone recording sent around to the band that was “so beautiful that both us and Bob de Wit were tempted to keep it for the album.”
Despite those more uplifting or dreamy sides to ‘Ungrateful Heart’, also on the album is some of The Gluts’ most unapologetically political work to date. Written against the backdrop of the murder of George Floyd and the international unrest that followed, ‘Breath’ and its sinister snake-like groove and snarling vocal are shot through with a contempt for systemic racial violence and police brutality. Following suit, the rallying anti-fascist punk of ‘FYBBD’ sees Nicolò repeatably yell ‘If you’re a fascist you better be dead!’ over razor-sharp guitars. The band said of the two tracks: “Breath and FYBBD are two very different songs but their common denominator is in the lyrics’ socio-political valence. The former is inspired by the infamous event of George Floyd’s death and the latter is a burst of anger towards any form of alt-right thought and praxis.”
Over the course of their three previous albums (2014’s ‘Warsaw’, 2017’s ‘Estasi’ and 2019’s ‘Dengue Fever Hypnotic Trip’), The Gluts’ brand of psychedelic noise rock has long been rooted in a punk spirit and energy but on ‘Ungrateful Heart’ they dive headfirst into that side of their sound. Due out via London-based label Fuzz Club on October 8th, the band will be touring Europe in support of the album in September/October 2021. Since forming in 2013, they have brought their notoriously deafening live show around Portugal, Switzerland, the UK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, Poland, Denmark and South, Africa and performed at a number of festivals including Eurosonic Noorderslag (NL), Fuzz Club Eindhoven (NL), Label Mates (UK), MiAMI Festival (IT) and Endless Daze (ZA).
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