Based in Cardiff, Wales, the anarchist anti-folk band ‘QUIET MARAUDER’ are inspired by erratic legends such as The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Syd Barrett and Half Man Half Biscuit.
Powered by the dual song-writing minds and pens of Simon M. Read and Jonathan Day, the band is a loose collective of souls who tend to grip household items and various tools, sticks and cudgels – to conjure up their powdery, flavour-filled multi-dimensional songs.
Never ones to shy away from the irrational or (frankly) impossible – the band have now embarked on a project of truly titanic expectations and daft, impractical size … a 111 song, 4-disc box set conceptually charting the path of the male psyche through through love, rejection, breakdown, madness, drunkenness and, ultimately, resolution.
‘Man’ the title-track is an all-engulfing sludge-filled chasm of mud-baked sounds. It leads us briefly, and gloopily, to the dum-de-dum of ‘The Internal Monologue Date’ which features singer/songwriter John Mouse. This song is like a barking Neil Innes extravaganza – with more than a little ‘stick it up your jumper’ “I Am the Walrus” about it.
‘Accidental Voyeur’ has a dark comb-over of a kazoo-sounding bass that crackles like dark bacon rind in the pan – with spoken words that stand like shadows against the sha-la-la backing. Then the Noël Coward style song starts to weave a spell on you – and, before you know it, you get sucked into the trap. Like a lobster making its way – desperate and headlong – into a boiling pot.
‘Pretty Girls Are (Pretty)’ is a lazy cowboy song – with a sunny harp and a John Wayne swagger. It’s about watching pretty girls on the tube. ‘Sweet man …’
Part two starts with a list of British Prime Ministers (1952 – Present) set against a music-box delight – and after this we find a “Movember” song ‘I Want A Moustache, Dammit’ – it is a woofing pleasure of a ditty. It makes you think… You can go to a barber and get a hair-do … but you cannot order a rufty-tufty moustache. Why not? Who knows?
‘Wake Up Bono’ is on part three. It sounds like Scaffold (the band) are crying for help in their sleep. Then the Beatlemania continues with an upbeat Mersey-sounding song full of joy and pounding merriment. ‘A Certain Girl’ on part four is sentimental and unhurried in its joy. It reminded us of Hunky Dory-era Bowie circa 1971.
‘Caged‘ (feat. Jemma Roper) is cold and haunting. It features a dominant drumbeat and unnecessarily leery piano keys. The voice icily steps forwards, falling awkwardly between the twiggy sounds. This is as bruising and as uncomfortable as you can get.
If you are a fan of bop do-wopp and off-kilter expressionism then this is for you. Even if you’re not, there are enough nuggets of joy to be found in this crazy wizard’s hat to make it worth peeking into and having a rummage around. Give it a go.
– © Neil_Mach January 20134 –