Boomkat Product Review:
This new instalment in the reliably essential Messthetics series focuses on the DIY scene of South Wales circa 1977-1981, featuring Z-Block bands like Reptile Ranch, What To Wear, The Decadent Few and The Discount Chiefs (whose name might be suggestive of a Kaiser Chiefs tribute band, but there the comparison ends). As with all the Messthetics collections, there's an abundance of great lost bands in here, but fortunately the accompanying booklet goes someway toward making sense of it all, breaking the Welsh DIY movement into localised scenes, providing enough biographical detail and obscure photographic evidence to help form a genealogical overview of what was going on during this fertile period, and where the main players ended up. Notably, Scritti Politti's Green Gartside appears as a bass player on The Immortal Invisibles' 'No Zip', a thoroughly weird but utterly brilliant new wave bluegrass hoedown, complete with punky rhythmic dynamics and soloing harmonica. One of the most impressive facets of music from the DIY scene is its irreverence and invention when it came to instrumentation: The Current Obsessions' 'Fish' sets chorused glissando basslines against choppy horn parts with a sloppy swingtime rhythm, whilst vocalist Debbie Debris nonchalantly intones "F**k it, what's the use." Effortless, haphazard cool from start to finish. Highly recommended. In addition to the 23 songs recorded as audio tracks on the CD you get a further six as MP3s.