Thursday, 6 February 2020

Review - Michael - Tell Your Friends

Michael - Tell Your Friends (Cracked Ankles Records)
LP / CD / DL
Out now
Guest reviewer, Nathan Whittle.
A collection of UK noise merchants bring a twisted aural assault and a much-needed message on their debut album, released on Evil Blizzard’s Cracked Ankles Records.
There’s a menacing ringmaster leading us on a circus trip through hell on new band Michael’s debut album, Tell Your Friends. He whips up a storm as the dense distorted guitars crash all around. The opening song, Mario, builds on a pounding bass and drum combo that rises into a simple spaced-out guitar solo. All the while, the vocals call out like a dystopian Pied Piper leading the rats down into firey pits. It’s a wasteland, twisted, dark, and disturbing. The tribal rhythms continue, ramped up more on Stabba, pitting those who inhabit the urban decay of modern Britain against the pebble-dashed curtain twitchers. Cold war murders and death without trial. It’s a stark warning against a nation skipping slowly into the embrace of oblivion.
There’s a tongue in their cheek as they spit in your eye, much in the same way as the twisted lyricism of bands like Future Of The Left. They are not pushing their agenda firmly in front of your eyes, but rather passing from page to page of a dusty book from a time when devils whispered in the ears of the passers-by, turning one against the other. The lesson is laid out on previous single Sole Trader. A cautionary tale of the result of wanton jealousy of the hard-earned success of others, no matter how slight, it slithers along on a fuzzed-up groove that drags you into Michael’s world of gutter trash streets where anyone who has slightly more than you is fair game. The accompanying video (below) squares its attack on the minion architects of our current woes – The City. It fits perfectly into our modern capitalist nightmare, one in which we are indoctrinated to beware our fellow worker, our fellow survivor, while the kings rule from high above.
Their desire for a simpler time, albeit spouted through a vitriolic style, is condensed to almost Luddite levels on Leaf Blower Tragedy. The band turn their gaze on a humble tool of the worker, but pine for something altogether simpler. Look past the strangely-chosen metaphor for the title, the band are squaring up in their sights those who drain the resources of the masses to water and prune their luxury golf courses. The worker may not need to rake, but the progress made is essentially there to benefit the masters. There is no trickle-down economy. It trickles up as the sweat of the workers lines the pockets of the bosses. Laid out over whipping guitars and that relentless beat, the message is firmly hammered home.
Over the eight tracks on their debut album, Michael present us with the horrors of our own modern world, twisted to remove any trace of rose-tinted glasses through which we may still yearn to look. Through the pounding rhythms, we are invited to assess what we see both in and around us, all the time in the knowledge that if we fail to recognise what is happening, the consequences will be felt. It’s the kind of album that urges you to rise up and take control and is a grizzly opening manifesto for the band.
There’s no need to step into Michael’s world…you’re already there.

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