WTCHS are purists, but they’re also realists. “digital is easier, so digital works” they tell us in an email, while insisting that “it’s a basement recording made for vinyl, and meant to be listened to on vinyl.” But there’s no shade of compromise to be found on “Mr. Hands” If anything, the new single represents growth. After a few minutes of the full-tilt post-punk bedlam that scoured their Wet Weapons EP, the track gradually distends with a Queens of The Stone Age Mojave mysticism, leading to something approaching vocal harmony as the vocals turn from incendiary to sympathetic.
Sometimes you just so happen upon releases – typically limited vinyl runs which come in polychromic pastel shades – with artwork so striking that you feel thoroughly compelled to feature the stuff caught in the grooves a little like grit under neglected fingernails just so that you can upload the sleeve imagery. And this split 7″ from Ontario noiseniks WTCHS and whimsical soloist S Johnson, aka Thoughts On Air is a perfect exemplar of such a phenomenon. Just look at that gory beauty above! Mixed medium excellence, if ever there were. And, well, you know – the music ain’t half bad either…
Johnson opts for a quietly petrifying brain-fry of a track entitled Harness that’s all scratchy, stark guitar, tapedeck aesthetic and Xiu Xiu terror – a couple minutes claustrophobic as an Houdini straitjacket.
Although it’s the unapologetically acerbic Mr. Hands from the former outfit which pretty well frizzles your gizzards alive in glory once allowed to slither within down unassuming lugholes. Were Brian Chippendale’s Black Pus transplanted into the already ferociously eccentric genetic makeup of Malajube, the Québécois Francophones might end up sounding something close to this riveting. Though so singular is this stereo onslaught that it’s perhaps preferable to stave off the comparisons, and allow Mr. Hands to have his intimately wicked way with your insides…
I’ll shut up now.
(Dots & Dashes UK)