Once upon a time, some enterprising music writer came up with (or popularised at least) the term “arsequake” to describe the sort of heavyweight sludgy rock which occasionally crawled out of Camden to force itself onto unsuspecting grunge audiences in the Nineties; usually talking about the sort of sounds which stepped very close to the definition of music, then trampled on it, bit off its head and relieved itself at great length over the very notions of “listenability” and “form.”Shit And Shine make arsequake which fits that term like a glove. The charmingly-titled “Dinner With My Girlfriend” pulls its intestines out the difficult way using a gauntlet made of rusty scrap steel discarded by Faust from the floor of The Garage in London after their legendary welding and burning of noxious matter session there which got them banned, lined with broken glass shards and dipped in purest vitriol for an all-devouring lower than low-end sound. And fury; replete with the ire of piledrivers left to rant and rage in mechanical strop across the bleak wastelands of collapsed old buildings, factory floors unswept and shuddering under the pummelling fists of Tetsuo‘s chundering and mewling autotuned half-human children.
Among the air-raid wails and 5-tonne beats of “Mermuda Triangle,” or underpinning “Woodpecker” and its stop-start spastic arrhythmia, resides bowel-churning bass action of the sort which when played loud enough should provoke a brown-trouser response within a 10km radius – and the latter’s fuzz could only really be effectively responded to, Fear and Loathing style, by chucking an electric heater into the bathtub at the requisite moment of deepest buzz. But then – surprisingly – the title track is almost a beatific respite of swingalong harmony and tankard-waving jollity by comparison, and maybe wouldn’t seem out of character if the Butthole Surfers were still producing anything new thanks to a woozy combination of seemingly pastoral melody and a distinctly damaged approach to the same.The endurance test which makes up the guitar loop at the heart of “Rodeo Girls” clops along relentlessly at a distinctly wobbly pace, surmounted by scrawling FX and depth-charge thumps promising cracked ribs and taking names for the headkick queue at a psychedelic dub session gone horribly, awfully wrong. As for “Youth led Worship,” it could make the toughest gristle throb, quivering almost relievedly after the brutal goosing which has come before it, complete with slightly camp pitched-down conversation to slip the hallucinations into slightly more comfortable position, if only like using yogic techniques to rearrange the shapes of pain under duress.
Anyone who wouldn’t want to turn the bass up to maximum, fill up on animal tranquillisers and use this album as a weapon of revenge on overweening neighbours just doesn’t get what Jream Baby Jream is about, and should avoid it, really. Everyone else will be itching to slide the volume to 11 and get set for some serious mind-battering.
-Antron S Meister-