Perc ‘Wicker & Steel’

Perc / Wicker & Steel

Vinyl / Digital

Perc Trax / Released June 2011


What does it sound like?

Have you ever been smacked across the face with a sledgehammer? Those who answered no can expect to change their response after hearing this album, so long as it’s turned up very, very loud. With blunt, brute force, Perc delivers his first full lengther, marking out a coherent link between the sound most associated with Birmingham, Berlin and Detroit.

Opening with a distorted sample speaking of Englishness and ‘growing up in a really crap suburban existence’, set to blissful synth chords that suggest a futurist utopia, is one way to ensure guards are down for the onslaught of industrialism that follows. Though it’s more minimalist, mechanised rhythms than drilling aggression we soon find ourselves on the production line of Gonkle, a track complete with hooks that sound like metal against metal, and the whirring of a manufacturing site.

From here humanism rarely threatens to infiltrate the sharp precision-cut beats. Hear the breaks onslaught of Jmurph, and then try not to feel like you’re being battered from all angles with rock hard boxing gloves, while horns nod back to rave’s heyday. Even the distinctly more downbeat My Head Is Slowly Exploding manages to drop the tempo without losing the clinical edginess that makes this collection so uncomfortable at home, but frenzy inducing in a club. On the same note, the electric hum that punctuates Snow Chain‘s beatless, looming low end filled spaces also follows this idea of man imitating machine.

Where would I dance to it?

Steel workers may want to pipe this through the headphones on a Friday afternoon. Failing that anywhere in tune with names like British Murder Boys, Robert Hood, and Ben Klock would also be appropriate.

What highlights can I expect to hear?

Other than the aforementioned London, We Have You Surrounded is a noteworthy inclusion. Staccato kicks and flat cymbals compress the arrangement into an aural sweatbox as distant chords bring on a darker, more epic tone compared with much of this LP. Pre-Steel, on the other hand, is as ‘nice’ as we’re offered, throwing up an expansive wall of steam and dub-tinged noises, providing an ambient re-reading. That said, the pads still suggest something potentially traumatising is about to happen.

Why should I pay for it?

Debut album, respected artist, not disappointing. Need more reasons?

Where can I buy it?