As a native of Liverpool, maybe it’s having to spend most of his time upside down in New Zealand that makes Matt Deacon’s brain the way it is. I mean it has to exert undue pressure on the capillaries and is no doubt a factor when considering the challenging and, frankly, odd releases that have emerged in recent years from under the tarpaulin crudely stencilled with the words ‘The Bob Lazar Story’.
Matt gets his help where he can and on recent releases this has come in large part from Chris Jago and his drumkit. Unluckily for Matt he doesn’t live nearby but in a little place called, er, Los Angeles. Yes, the one in America. Now even a dunderhead like me knows that LA is a considerable distance from NZ. A quick Google tells me that it is in fact some 6,896.43 miles away from Matt’s home in Christchurch, not so handy then for popping round for a cuppa and a chat about musical direction. But luckily for all concerned T’Interwebs are on hand to aid with communication and the winging of recorded stuff to and fro, the result this time being the Self-Loathing Joe EP. Just blame technology.
I think the following, taken from the Bandcamp page, is indicative of Matt’s approach and, indeed, the challenges at hand:-
Chris Jago uses :
Aquarian Drum Heads
Ahead Armor Cases
Matt Deacon uses :
Plenty of fucked gear
Held together with
So what do you get for your 20 minutes? An endearing and wildly entertaining slice of Different is what. Bookended by the tracks Harmonics and Scinomrah, the eagle-eyed amongst you will notice the cunning relationship between these two titles, again indicative of both the mind at work and how the pieces sound. The biggest mystery however, and a question that still needs answering, is why one is a second shorter than the other. Matt?
This conundrum aside we’ve still got another 19 and a half minutes left, so what do we get from that? Five fully formed pieces making a tasty cake of dribbly madness, odd sounds and sparkling intricacy, all Deacon/Jago co-writes. The enigmatic cover image both nails it and strays as far away as humanly possible from giving us the full picture, which is quite a trick in itself. If I can return to the Bandcamp page for a moment where it is said:-
“Self-Loathing Joe is the 5th release from The Bob Lazar Story. It sounds like two small bands having a fight on some stairs.”
So there you go. Brilliant.
Don Branch Venom sets us on the road with guitar and drums thrashing nicely. An interruption of keys takes Matt on a lovely twisting guitar sojourn, Chris watching the store. It’s a great track and not like much else I can think of. There’s a mock-classical section and some really cool playing, the interaction between drums, guitar and keys a joy that gets nicely embedded under the skin.
No Wait. Yes Chips – the title suggested by texting re the purchase fried potato delights – is wonderfully spooky. The keyboards/software are no doubt cheap but the uses that Matt puts them to are hugely impressive, making for a nicely diverting listen. Cardiacs meets King Crimson in a very small cupboard, perhaps?
Self-Loathing Joe is warm and upbeat with lovely electric piano. It would be all too easy – particularly given the arse ache of being located in different hemispheres – to use a drum machine but the fact that the trouble has been gone to to include real life drums makes the experience all the better.
Foodstool Exacts Revenge Upon Gilchrist The Traitor but he seems to be doing it in a lounge jazz style, which is probably even more terrifying. There’s epicness in the guitars, there’s jazziness in the keys, drums thump like drums do and, hey presto – wonderfulness.
And so to the epic centrepiece that is Ezekiel II. There’s an Eastern flavour, acoustic guitar picking out a sinister riff. Spooky wails and screaming brings this to a close, to be followed by a whispered voice reciting verses from the Old Testament book of, you guessed it, Ezekiel (The Vision of Four Cherubim if I’m not very much mistaken). A stately, almost religious processional emerges, soaring guitars entwine and resolve into an acoustic riff then soar again. Fair play Matt, good work!
As with Matt’s last EP, Ghost of Foodstool, there is only really one problem – it’s just too bloody short. You acclimatise, start to groove and it’s done. Hit ‘Play’, repeat.
Since stumbling upon the awesome Space Roots album in 2012 I’ve really enjoyed all of The Bob Lazar Story releases and this one is no exception. Bandcamp is your friend; should you enjoy, send Matt some Green so he can make more.
01. Harmonics (0:16)
02. Don Branch Venom (3:00)
03. No Wait. Yes Chips (2:45)
04. Self-Loathing Joe (2:05)
05. Foodstool Exacts Revenge Upon Gilchrist The Traitor (3:04)
06. Ezekiel II (8:59)
07. Scinomrah (0:15)
Total time – 20:24
Matt Deacon – Guitars & Mouse
Chris Jago – Drums
Tanya Didham – Vocals (on Ezekiel II)
Zeke Deacon – Other Vocals
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: New Zealand
Year Of Release: 2015