Sticky and Sex Swing’s cover art seem to go hand in hand. Their debut record cover art featured a gross looking yellow-pink blob with a razorblade (?) in it and got people guessing about its origins. On the cover Type II, their sophomore full album, things don’t get any less gory. Just have a good look at it and ask yourself if you would touch this blue-grey vomit. Of course SftDS asked around for opinions and there was this one dude on our Instagram who thought it was molten liquorice that was ready for consumption. Maybe he’s right, but thinking about eating something like this!? No, let’s not go there. There are some very disturbed people out there. Anyway, let’s talk shop.
Sex Swing is what you call a supergroup. A supergroup from the British underground, that is. Jason Stoll (bass), Colin Webster (sax), Oliver Knowles (keys), Stu Bell (drums), Jodie Cox (guitar) and Dan Chandler (vocals) all are active members in other obscure outfits and in some cases also are involved in other interesting side activities. Stoll and Webster for example also manage their own labels whilst Cox plays with Seattle drone metal lords Earth every now and then. He even played on parts of Earth’s triumphant Primitive and Deadly in 2014. The group debuted in 2016 and since then is known for their loud, brute and twisted noise. For some reason it not only wants to make you riot but also makes you wanna dance. Type II is brought out on one of the hottest labels around, Rocket Recordings, and thus is regularly mentioned with Goat, Kooba Tercu and Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs.
Type II opens with an eerie 30 second silence which is suddenly shattered by a sharp wall of guitars. Directly after this jump scare The Passover progresses steadily like a no wave classic but keeps looming under the commanding baritone sax of Webster. In the following minutes the wall of guitars is built up again and things get chaotic as the chorus is repeatedly whipped into an apotheosis of violence. This aggressive pay off during the opening can only be seen as a statement of Sex Swing that reads someting like this: after 4 years of absence we are back in business, we are in our prime and we are ready to… wear… you… out.
Sex Swing pushes our backs against the wall with Skimmington Ride. Although geared down at the start the band hypnotically adds instruments, becoming fuller and more demanding every cycle. Together with Chandler’s unfriendly, growly singing the 7 minute build unmistakingly reminds of Swans’ pitch black works. The terror continues in the gym with Chandler pumping up the pace like an Ian Curtis who slowly is losing his mind. Short bursts of sax and bass keep banging as riffs start to hover around Valentine’s Day at the Gym finally explodes into chaos. The track was released as a teaser to Type II and certainly is not very romantic. Yet, as a proof of concept for Sex Swing’s controlled psychedelic deathrock it works out gloriously.
Betting Shop reminds of Joy Division because of the dark bass line coming from Stoll. Stoll however serves like a sort of wolf prey. Time after time band members attack the bass line, bringing more force as the song progresses. Eventually the pack gets the kill as the bass line slowly dies off. This kind of brutal impulses also are part of Type II’s endgame. After a noisy interlude the heavy drumming on La Riconada sets up a tone of blunt dystopia. At this point the band reaches its most rugged phase driving listeners into pure despair. La Riconada maybe is a bit too blunt if you ask us and doesn’t make use of the full qualities that the (super) group possesses. On the other hand Sex Swing does manage find the exact balance between the uneasy and intriguing here. The fade in of Garden of Eden / 2000AD, the album’s closing track, is the start of a repetitive Motorpycho-like slow burn. In almost 9 minutes kraut, psych and some light noise come together as gradually sax and keys become more prominent. The burn ends with a short moment of peace, or better said an inhale which, indeed, is followed by a bone shattering exhale of explosive noise which leads out the final minutes. POW! BAM! WHAM! BANG! …Boy!… we barely survived that.
Type II is a 40 minute overwhelming ride into deep madness not made for the faint hearted. On this sophomore Dan Chandler & co. easily bring the same quality as they did on their debut a few years ago. Although in fact irrelevant, we do think Type II is a bit better because of the relentless tension building. So, now you know and knowing is half the battle. When it comes to spinning Type II the other half of the battle consists of putting on some heavy dancing boots, getting a bowl with some molten liquorice in it from your kitchen and just let yourself go from there… [insert random scary sound effect here].
Label: Rocket Recordings, 2020
- The Passover (5:40)
- Skimmington Ride (7:18)
- Valentine’s Day at the Gym (6:46)
- Betting Shop (6:01)
- Need Battery (1:55)
- La Riconada (3:22)
- Garden of Eden / 2000 Ad (8:53)
Review by Wander Meulemans // 130620