Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Peter Hope & Charlie Collins - Destroy Before Leaving (2016)

This is another one of those download things which exists only as electric magic. I downloaded a couple by Blank Banshee last week and told myself I wasn't going to make a habit of owning stuff with no physical dimensions, but fuck it - it's Peter Hope and it was a quid - actually it was free but it seemed polite to make some sort of donation. Anyway...

Peter Hope and Charlie Collins will of course be remembered as vocals and saxomophone of the Box, who were in turn Clock DVA minus Adi Newton and somehow wound much tighter. You can still feel some of that legacy in these six tracks - dark, dirty, and kind of jazzy without any of the usual unfortunate connotations which have adhered to jazz since it was assimilated by the man. That said, it doesn't exactly sound like jazz beyond the noodling presence of whatever Collins is playing - some sax, some clarinet I think - and a few details of mood. On the other hand, what it very much does sound like is twenty-first century blues, meaning the genuine Robert Johnson deal updated as is appropriate to time and culture, as distinct from some Mark Knopfler heritage project; also as distinct from certain Foetus efforts inhabiting similar territory but sounding a great deal more mannered and studied than this raw outburst of noise, gravel and loathing. Were time travel a thing, you could take this back to the Mississippi Delta in the thirties and I'm pretty sure those guys would recognise it immediately. Of course, beyond Hope's characteristic growl and Collins' riffing, what you have might almost be Einst├╝rzende Neubauten in sonic terms, but it should probably be remembered that whilst the original bluesmen had guitars and harmonicas, they really weren't in the business of making pretty music. So to dispense with most of this paragraph, Destroy Before Leaving is a blues album, and a powerful one, and that's everything you need to know.

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