Cleavers/Clowns Split 7″
This little gem of a split 7″ was released by Elgin Rock City/Our New Planet and is limited to 250 copies. The record was speedily dispatched and came with some awesome Wolf Mask artwork cards, plus a Cleavers patch. Can’t argue with that for £4. Full points for packaging, artwork and DIY value for money, but what about the music?
Cleavers formed about a year ago and come from Elgin in the far north-east of Scotland. I can’t help but feel that their geographical isolation has done them the world of good, as Cleavers bare little or no resemblance sonically to any other punk rock bands in the country. Things kick off with a creepy howl of feedback before some biscuit-tin drums kick in, signalling the arrival of “Girls In Their Sunday Best”. Then it’s all fuzzy guitars and hyper distorted riffage before Danny lets rip with his trademark maniacal vocals. The approach is minimalist and DIY as fuck. It works incredibly well with the wild gang screams and ripping 50’s rock’n’roll guitar solos. Clocking in at just over 3 minutes, this to me is the sound of Cleavers nailing their colours to the rock’n’roll flag.
Next up is “Hulk Hands (Cryin’ Into My Cafetiere)” which follows a similar blueprint but amps the speed up somewhat. To me, Danny’s well-known love of Descendents shines through on this track, mostly from the hooks of the vocals, as the music continues to echo the Black Flag/Jay Reatard/bubblegum rock that Cleavers have become known for.
The Cleavers side of the record features two songs and is over and done with within four and a half minutes. I can’t help but feel that I want to hear more, which you can do as the download code included with the record includes an extra track. You’ll have to buy the record yourself to hear that banger.
On the flipside, we’ve got Clowns from Melbourne, Australia. I’d never heard these chaps before this record. They weigh in with three tracks, kicking off with a sample at the beginning of “Eat Your Gun” before things blast out in a hail of riffs, screaming and distortion. Fine stuff indeed. There’s definitely a strong Aussie rock’n’roll influence, with Radio Birdman being the first band that immediately springs to mind. This is speedy, trashy, gobby hardcore punk rock’n’roll. It’s not rocket science, but it’s fucking good. It’s catchy, well-written and just executed with just the right amount of sloppiness to keep things exciting. Plus, who can resist the repeated screaming of the words “You Motherfucker”? No fucker, that’s who.
The next track “Fight Me” sounds pretty much exactly like you’d exactly like you’d expect a song with the repeated refrain of “do you want to fight me?”. It’s all over in less than two minutes and ends with a sample of some lovely sounding fella detailing how he knocked some hapless clown out for twenty two and a half minutes. Fighting music? Maybe. Guid? Definitely.
Clowns wrap things up with “You Want It” which follows the path paved by the first two songs. Clowns seem to mix the aggression and volatility of 80’s hardcore with a 60’s rock’n’roll swagger and they pull it off before it all falls apart at the seams, like the perfect soundtrack to a heavy Saturday night of broken bottles and broken noses.
All in all, this is a quality little split of dirty hardcore garage punk’n’roll and comes highly recommended.
Ye can get a copy for yourself at DaDa Tunes, although I’d be quick as there probably aren’t many left. Good stuff indeed.