Review by Andy Uzzell, originally published in Dayz of Purple and Orange
To say that Fuzz Club have not had a bad year is the very definition of litotes; they have released a slew of frankly outstanding albums (10,000 Russos, Sonic Jesus, Radar Men From The Moon, Singapore Sling....and many others), not to mention one of the compilations of the year (Reverb Conspiracy Vol 3) and topped it all off with a 2 day extravaganza of a festival.
I'll admit, Throw Down Bones were new to me, a name I had heard bandied around but had not heard any of their material, and having decided to only attend the 2nd night of the Fuzz Club festival I missed out on seeing them live. So when the press release for the album came through and I read words like 'coldwave' and 'industrial' my heart sank a little bit (not that I dislike either 'genre'...just wanted more of what had preceeded....lashings of fuzz, hazy 'walls of sound' etc). Cue an epiphany bordering on Road to Damascus proportions.
Throw Down Bones are Frankie Frankie and Dave Cocks, and apparently they are Fuzz Club's most listened to acts on iTunes, no mean feat. They describe their music as "Noise Militia Amnesia haze kraut philosophal drone" which raised my optimism a tad....and then I listened to the album....
The album opens with 'Exposure' and its Joy Division bass line and layers upon dense layers of sound. It's this bass line and the metronomic drums that anchor the track and provides a platform for some simple but effective synth lines, all coming together to form an intense experimental workout. 'Our Home, The Holy Mountain' has a more krautrock feel about it, traces of Neu! are audible in its motorik rhythms and beguiling, hypnagogic drones.
'A Premise To Action' is, on the face of it, a doleful, melancholic piece of music, with the bass providing a simple melody, but if you listen (and this is an album that deserves to be listened to, not just put on in the background) there are flashes of dissonance and noise that work almost on the subliminal level to raise the track from an exercise in maudlin electronics into an atmospheric and fascinating track that put me in mind of some of Coil's more 'user friendly' moments.
'Inner Lights' is another krautrock based number; the motorik rhythm is incessant and irresistable. As the track progresses more and more layers appear...each sound applied like brushstrokes on a masterpiece. Next up is 'Emitters', opening with a brisk drum beat and bass. It has the almost post-punk feel of, say, Gang Of Four or Wire, and again one can imagine Peter Hook knocking out that bass line, bass slung low and legs akimbo. Easily my fave track on the album.
'Saturator' is built on repetition and layers, growing like a skyscraper, storey upon storey. By the end of the track it is huge! The longest track on the album, 'Bones', has an electronic space rock feel to it; echo-laden washes of sound and a driving rhythm bring the Hawkwind ethos bang up to date. It has a 'kitchen sink' feel to it, but in a skillful manner, the duo using every device and nuance available to them. Scratch what I said earlier...this is my fave track on the album. Things are brought to a conclusion by 'It's All Around Us', with it's Ozric Tentacles-like new age vibe...a bubbling heartbeat over some lush drones and rounds off the album on a warm and optimistic note.
Despite my earlier reservations, Throw Down Bones fit perfectly on the Fuzz Club roster....there may not be the aforementioned 'walls of sound', but the atmosphere they invoke, and the glacial 'gothness' fit the label to a T. It is an album of consumate cool and sophistication, built with craft and an unswerving eye for prefection. The individual elements of the Throw Down Bones' sound may not be unique (the motorik rhythms of krautrock, the spikyness of post punk and the 'Hooky' bass lines) but the way they have been put together is masterful and has resulted in an album that is a thing of joy to behold. I just wish I had gone to both nights of the Fuzz Club festival to catch them live!