Stay True - January 2006

Bail Out + Ninebar +
Six Foot Ditch - The Wedge

Bail Out are frantic, a study in pent-up energy under controlled release. This four-piece come across as some kind of experiment into the constructive channelling of life’s frustrations.The songs are full of rapid changes in pace. Stomping riffs snap into snare-drum avalanches. Musical ideas are introduced and then discarded in swift channel-hops of style. The lyrics focus on inner turmoil as well as the maelstrom of modern global politics, mirroring the swerving joyride of musical content. Every song has a short but action-packed lifespan. There are brief intros which lead into frenzied verses. What follows are choruses as catchy as a barbed-wire fence, some more all-out, thrashing madness and short, sharp endings that leap out of nowhere and leave you reeling - and, in some cases, all this in less than ninety seconds. The rhythm section takes a song and a half to warm up and bed in, but then it’s bang on the tempo. An affirmative fury, blessed with bright dynamics and a guitar tone to die for. Progressive hardcore with a glint in its eye; a strangely triumphant chaos – like mowing down a gaggle of politicians in an HGV. Ninebar seem to have cribbed their fashion ideas from Goldie Lookin’ Chain, filtered through photocopied hardcore fanzines and skater-esque stylings of the 90s. Their sound originates from New York in the same era but this has a thicker, more spacious feel. It’s mostly slow-paced thundering fist-riffs, picking up into heavy breakbeat passages which build tension before releasing it into intense chorus action. The twin vocalists have taken some influence from the delivery styles of rap music, albeit modulated into howls and roars instead of the croons and mumbles that dominate modern hip-hop. The drumming occasionally evokes an almost tribal texture and the gappy, sparse riffs follow their lead. There are no lead instruments here. The whole band is the rhythm section, tightly synchronised like the syncopated clatter of trains on the tube. This is stern, uncompromising music that won’t appeal to the ‘in touch with my feminine side’ Myspace lobby. But, as far as I can tell, that’s the whole point. Much the same can be said for Six Foot Ditch, only more so - this is fight music. The aficionados in the audience take the bait and begin to leap, flail and thrash around in a rapidly widening circle of space. The members are dressed to riot, or to hang around with a stash of bricks and bottles waiting for one to start. A fifty-fifty mix of brutality and profanity. Like a metaphorical breezeblock dropping on your head from a tenth floor balcony, it's extremely heavy, wantonly aggressive and, bottom line, it's going to sting a bit. The howled lyrics are unintelligible to the uninitiated, adding to the sense of being privileged spectator to a secret club you’re too much of a pussy to be part of. Light on melody, big on one-note riffs. This is hip-hop for kids who grew up listening to Slayer. Definitely not easy listening, but nonetheless an impressive display of musical savagery. Their skills cannot be faulted, even if the tunes themselves make you want to hand over your lunch money and run home to mother.