Monday, 26 April 2010

Trash Kit - Trash Kit [Upset The Rhythm]

The fi is lo, long live the fi! On the evidence of their charming debut album, you could quite happily file Trash Kit alongside fellow Upset The Rhythm-linked upstarts like Munch Munch as a band who manage to mangle their influences so impressively that the result doesn’t sound quite like anyone else. Sure, there are definitely references to be made – the stripped-back riffage and manic three-girl chatter recalls Sleater Kinney, there’s certainly a little Kinsella in their crystalline guitar lines and the short-sharp-shock tactics of many tracks here are reminiscent of the Blood Brothers (may they continue to rest in pieces). But coating everything in a bargain bin sheen of murk and packing some unconventional bits of instrumentation for a punk band – djembe, anyone? – elevates them from ‘x plus y’ fodder to intriguing curiosity.

There are times on their self-titled debut where everything falls into place beautifully. ’50 Women’, as it morphs from doomy pulse to a sudden, frantic race for the finish line, is stupidly addictive, as are the rough ‘n’ ready harmonies of ‘Pig Cat’. It certainly helps that Trash Kit seem to take a Ramones-like approach to composition – none of the songs here exceed three minutes in length, and the average lands somewhere around one and a half. In some ways the most thrilling songs here are the shortest – fifty-second opener ‘Knock Yr Socks Off!’ summoning a barbed guitarmy to kick Trash Kit into gear, and the scuzzy dynamics of ‘New Face’ a little like those of No Age or The Jelas.

All of this having been said, there is a refreshing complexity to some of their songwriting that provides Trash Kit with far more depth than similar fare. The addition of djembe gives a punchy dance backline to some tracks, and the spidery swirls of plucked guitar – so du jour since Foals shifted into afro-pop mode – are far too abstract to sound derivative. Over its length there aren’t any real deviations from standard mode, but it’s hard not to feel that to criticise them for that is like complaining that every Starburst in a packet is squishy and sweet. Which seems an appropriate enough place to end: thrashy and lo-fi they may be, but what Trash Kit have managed to put together is a packet of sweets of an album, crammed with tiny nuggets of sugary harmony. Its short length merely serves to enhance its intensity of flavour.

Words : Rory Gibb

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