SPARKS FROM A SUITCASE
An impression of Column 258’s The Fritz Tapes
Electric jabs precede drums as the bass eases itself into being,
A song of alarums shattering into the day. Sourced from this is the call
of Ross Clifford’s stark warning: attend to Idaho and The Fritz Tapes,
From Column 258’s freshly formed moan and sway.
For this is the sound of the normal song redefining;
A mutant pop’s exhortation of the shadows and meanings of place,
Idaho as the opening song locates a dark landscape,
Where Tom Waits is a Tom cat in Column 258’s alleyway.
This band of night people split sleep as can be heard on Czu Holler.
Ross Clifford growls through the litter of untidy moons and lost blood.
The strings of Marc Ribot are aped by Clifford and guitarists Holly Finch
And AC Cooper, while bassists Nick Weekes and Keith Rodway
Reshape the rain in sound floods. Songs like this carve new charts
Behind surface glitter; as accepted taste becomes blander,
These flavours and sounds snag the throat. A suspicious suitcase
Is placed somewhere in this music, alluding perhaps to a story
And to the musician’s inverted dance in long coats.
Musicians are priests from The KLF back to Wakeman;
Here is a band’s broken story, glass in the ear, splintered dreams.
So it Goes begins as a snake, arcing through the head with intention,
A trace of Ian Curtis in reverb becomes a Brendan Perry sound stream.
Ryan Bollard’s thunderous drums are at once tasteful current,
As the song weaves and swelters in a kind of heat, the dark gleams.
A treated trumpet, pine cones, and the mysterious monotron
Is heard, distant, as this evolved ballad strokes the texture of night
With sharp claws. Soon that mood dissipates as distortion disappears
Before morning, as an ode to Johnny Cash and his meaning, is suddenly there
Before dawn. His presence conjured, twisted and warped by new country
Which has the same weight and swagger as the man in black on his throne.
The song listens out for iced winds and what the ‘ghost of Kerouac may have told us,’
As places and palaces settle, ‘jewelled crucifixes’ condemn him,
Along with amplified ‘beggar’s bones.’
Beginning in improvisation, these songs have the confidence of achievement,
They form their own solar system, their own column of stars in the sky.
Holly Finch’s ethereal voice and violin, within Seven, as the forebodings
Are sheltered by the shadows’ own cabal and cloud signs.
These thirty four minutes complete a new manifesto,
As evocative as Vini Reilly’s Durutti, Column 258 reshape song,
And with that attempt a bright world, glimpsed as the shimmer
And slice within lightning, that possibly reveals others watching
And their judgement on us, right and wrong.
The strings skitter and ghoul, Fritz Catlin’s mixology and green tea
Offer power. Amanda Thompson’ extra percussion,
Adds the stutter of shape and night spray.
Albums like this are the key;
The secret perhaps in the suitcase,
That we all want to open,
As these assaults on what’s real stain the day.
David Erdos 31/12/17
The Fritz Tapes is a series of improvised songs recorded in a single afternoon in October 2017 at the Hastings studio of Fritz Catlin, genius mixologist and founder member of legendary British industrial/post-punk/skewed funk/ band 23 Skidoo.
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