Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sex Scheme on Puppet Combo Records

Sex has been at the center of Rock, Punk, whatever since the day it started. I always liked that Steely Dan was named after a sex toy and the Velvet Underground was named after some bondage novel. The list goes on and on and the fact that Sex Scheme just gets right out there from day one with this name and sleeve photo only means they're willing to admit it right away. Those base, primal urges are what motivates a lot of decisions, it's the same old story a thousand years ago and in the future. Sex Scheme is willing to start from that place and see if there isn't something even more manipulative or degrading. Ben's previous project The Mountain Cult was still nothing you wanted to bring home to your parents but Sex Scheme wasn't even anything you thought you were into and now you can't tell anyone.

"Dog Slut" is a shitty bass fed through a broken amp mic'd from a laughable distance with a thrown together drum kit, that pitiful thud of a kick and rattly falling off the stand snare. The guitar is breaking down it's own parts and Ben is frothing at the mouth, really playing both parts. This rhythm is like a damn drum machine, the tinniest metallic sound, the sort of digital sounding shhht that calls itself a hi-hat, and I know it's not but that's the kind of texture they're letting strangle this one. Ben is alternating between spitting into the mic and being scary or being scared. A masochists approximation of Suicide where the amps are on top. You're the bottom. This runs right into "Feel Me" with a haunting harmonica and Ben is really beaten now and this bass line has a Joy Division simplicity to it. The drums made out of nothing so he's not distracted getting into the catharsis shit here. You rarely hear this kind of raw nudity anymore. All he does is jab at the electric and get a hard edge shriek of almost feedback alongside a lonely kick. He's inhaling the mic, contorting all over it - some real pain was discovered in this rehearsal space. It isn't taken for granted or drawn out forever, thats where the demented pop sentiment comes in, a lesser band would take these moments of blood and spit and focus on that for ten minutes. These guys cut that down the most impressive powerful parts to the point it gets cut off running into the center label but somehow that even makes sense.

B-Sides "Eat it" has a weird off kilter melody and that rattly snare developed into a scratchy blues. The absolute bare minimum in instrumentation and melody is used here and it's great. I'm thinking of this as some kind of drunken mess of Kitchen's Floor, this character is just exposed, broken down, his lowest point AGAIN. Been inebriated for far too long and still making some kind of sense through the slobbery slurs. The guitar work which has all the stingy barbs of Gang of Four and that bass and drum section provide a solid foundation for experimentation. 'You gotta, YOU GOTTA Eat it.' It's a mix between the shit he's been forced to ingest and the fantasies he has in the gas station bathroom with former classmates. "Mexico City" rolls in like the last call. It knows it's over, the lights are coming on, it's going to get ugly. A piercing guitar, out of tune with a bass blues and hi hat hissing away. This is coming home drunk angry and giving it to people who don't deserve it. I gotta believe this guy is exorcising some demons like Dirty Beaches with rabid teeth, or the Cave Bears at the end of a long night they won't remember. Sex Scheme manages to hold it together and in the process makes everything and everyone uncomfortable. Fantastic.

Get this from the band direct.

1 comment:

  1. Nice review of a great record. (You didn't mention the 'Gentle Touching' or 'Rough Fucking' cd-r's you csn claim with a copy of this though.) Like the Kitchen's Floor ref - as if it could get any more beaten down and defeated than them. And it can!