Tuesday 8 July 2014

Ace Bushy Striptease - Slurpt

Album review by KevW

As a rule, when a band releases an album and then announces they're splitting on the very same day (or for that matter, splits before releasing a final posthumous record), it means that what they've recorded is a right dog's dinner because they were at each other's throats the whole time and it was probably finished off by the one member who could still be arsed. Albums released this way aren't supposed to be particularly good, unless it's one final knees up at the end of a successful career that has come to a natural end over time. Ace Bushy Striptease have readily admitted that the last few months were difficult and that recording 'Slurpt' wasn't as easy as some of the material they've released over the past several years, but they've made 100% certain that fans wouldn't be fobbed off with some half-arsed, cobbled together tracks just for the sake of it.

No, 'Slupt' is a fitting epitaph for the midlands outfit, and one that doesn't break from their slightly shouty, DIY indie format. For the uninitiated, perhaps the closest (kind of) well known band would be Los Campesinos!, yet where that collective are divisive and sometimes forcefully clever with their lyrics, ABS are equally verbose but less cloying and less knowingly smart. 'Winning Or Losing' is like the Welsh band made more universally palatable; it's wordy, sharp and slightly arty. Charging up the power we get 'Danzig Queen' which is a punky clatter with a touch of brass, and then easing their foot on the pedal they deliver 'We Go To Houseparties And Hang Out By Ourselves' ("feels like a wasted opportunity, we could be chatting in the dark") which adds even more brass, even having the feel of one of the more obscure Britpop bands. That opening trio says a lot about the different aspects of the band's music, but that's not to say that you've heard it all.

What follows is a fine set of songs that are pretty much the same make and model (or crossbreeds thereof) of what's come before, but you can't deny that 'Deer Doery' is a thoroughly enjoyable, Helen Love-ish punky pop tune. The boy/girl vocals work well on the multi-voiced 'Peanut Revolution' which is something of a cacophony. It's layered songs like this that solidify the fact that ABS wanted to go out with a bang and not a whimper. 'Lou's Anxiety Song' chops and changes styles and tempos and doesn't come up short on the ideas front. All this and we're only halfway through. It would be easy to go into detail about each track because there aren't really any weak links; the only snag will be that if you don't like one song then, even with the diversity, you probably won't like the rest because the band have a distinct style ('Team Jess' and 'Eve's Adolescent Concerns' deserve a special mention though). There will be plenty of takers for such a spirited collection of songs with such a freshness to them (although if you want the limited edition CD then be quick, they're down to a handful - literally), and rightly so. Ace Bushy Striptease calling it a day might not make the national news, but there will be a solid fanbase hoping that they do an about turn before too long. At least they've left us in style.

Ace Bushy Striptease's website

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