CDR: Elm Lodge 003B [2004]

Mind Numb
Bingo Beauty
Bad Vowel Moment at WP Primary
Paranoid Conclusions No. 7
Atonal Movie
A19 South
Geoff vrs........

Soiled is a great name for a band. There are no phrases involving the word 'soiled' that aren't dubious at best and unpleasant at worst. It's a bit like 'pendulous' or 'flaccid' in that respect, although not in meaning; and while there are probably better examples, I'm going to stop there before this review goes a bit too Freudian word-association.

Hailing from Oop North via Out West, Soiled's Marcus H puts together songs in a lo-fi, loop-based manner reminiscent of David Torn's Splattercell project; the resultant dirty grooves and hectic collages have a garagey, DIY charm that belies their electronic origins. Unusually for an experimental band, all eight tracks on the CD are remarkably short, from a minute up to three-and-a-half; this might leave Soiled open to accusations of incompleteness, but I'd rather say the effect is more short-and-sweet. 'Bingo Beauty' for example clocks in at under two minutes, it would be the intro to a seven-minute track in the hands of Fridge for example, but as it stands it gets an idea across without becoming long-winded.

The opening title track 'Mind Numb' and the untitled closing number belt along at a funky, guitar-soaked pace, and wouldn't sound entirely out of place next to !!!, although the latter track is the only one on the whole EP with actual vocals on. 'Bad Vowel Movement at WP Primary' - another great name - goes in more for chirpy electronic quirkery (if that wasn't a word before it is now) in the manner of Matmos or Blectum From Blechdom, but the naturalistic sound palette gives it an organic edge those two bands rarely exploit. Other moments, for example the suitably tense 'Paranoid Conclusions No. 7', are reminiscent of Nurse With Wound, but again NWW would stretch the same idea out over potentially a whole side.

I'm keen to see how Soiled's sound develops over the course of an entire album, whether some of the tunes are allowed to grow into longer works, or if Marcus still follows the short format and gives us a CD with 20 tracks on...



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Soiled [Happyland]