Is it really more than 5 years since this came out?
The Fierce & The Dead have built a very loyal following in the intervening period and continue to go from strength to strength, being due to embark on their first visit to the U.S. in 2017.
This debut album features the original trio of guitarist Matt Stevens, bassist Kev Feazey and drummer Stuart Marshall, later addition Steve Cleaton appearing on one track here, a live recording from 2014. The quartet version of the band have been able to broaden the scope and textures within the music but it is interesting to revisit the brilliantly titled If It Carries On Like This We Are Moving To Morecambe to hear early, sometimes tentative, explorations into the sound that has subsequently made them such a terrifyingly aggressive live experience, as predicted by Landcrab which kicks rear end most agreeably, a punky aesthetic shining through.
Flint remains one of m favourite TFATD pieces, Marshall’s skittering drum pattern a complete joy every time, as does 10×10 with its criss-crossing guitar lines. There seems to be more of Steven’s trademark looping on this one than later releases, the quartet set-up with two guitars allowing them to stray away from this to a degree. The element of hypnotic repetition is prevalent in a number of the tracks, but there is plenty of thrust to kick up the tempo when required. There’s tension and dissonance amidst tightly wound melody and electronic soundscaping, the whole being a very enjoyable listening experience, probably more so now than on its original release when I reviewed it over at DPRP.
Part 2 is a picture of restraint until the hammer falls and the built up energy released over an unwavering beat. The spectre of King Crimson arrives with the unsettling chords of H.R. but a far more delicate side shines through in The Wait. Daddies Little Helper successfully crams a lot into its concise 4 minutes, the sax of Terry Edwards adding jazzy textures to this and Andy Fox.
The bonus additional tracks are interesting but probably don’t add a great deal to the original album. Alternative takes of Part 2 and Landcrab, two of the album’s best tracks, show different facets, the former being considerably extended. There are two extra versions of Andy Fox, in a shorter “Suitcase Mix” that gives it a completely different feel, and live in 2014 with the quartet line-up, the smouldering build and explosion of energy near the end working well on stage. The only unreleased song is Foreign Languages, a quirky thing of distorted bass and a techno feel, angular guitar picking and purposeful drums with a video game flourish at the end – sounds like Galaxian to me!
Overall the album certainly benefits from the remastering and comes out shinier and more detailed than before, resplendent in new packaging with original paintings and drawings by Mark Buckingham. If you missed it the first time or have boarded the TFATD train at subsequent stops then this is a great opportunity to pick up the debut and see where it all started.
01. Flint (5:29)
02. Part 2 (5:00)
03. The Wait (2:05)
04. H.R. (3:18)
05. Hotel No.6 (2:43)
06. Landcrab (2:00)
07. Daddies Little Helper (4:20)
08. Woodchip (1:56)
09. 10×10 (4:19)
10. Andy Fox (6:09)
~ Bonus Tracks:
11. Foreign Languages (3:18)
12. Andy Fox (live at Kingsway College) (5:42)
13. Part 2 (Take 1 board mix) (6:29)
14. Landcrab (Take 5 board mix) (1:54)
15. Andy Fox (Suitcase Remix) (3:46)
Total time – 58:27
Matt Stevens – Guitars, Piano, FX & Percussion
Kev Feazey – Bass, Guitars, FX, Programming & Percussion
Stuart Marshall – Drums & Percussion
Steve Cleaton – Guitar (track 12)
Terry Edwards – Saxophone (tracks 7,10 & 15)
Record Label: Bad Elephant Music
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 18th November 2016