Low Company / UK / 2020
Fire in the hold!!! LP/action-painting documenting the entire musical output/psychosis/self-immolation of short-lived North London destruction-unit I Can I Can’t, all previously unreleased. Side One consists of six barking, bucking audiac anxiety attacks recorded to dictaphone in 2009, in a warehouse up the Seven Sisters Road: a-pause-button-controlled, high-speed-collision of skeletal trogged-out garage-punk and queasy electro-mechanical abrasions, eventually unravelling into uncanny, sublimely fatigued ambient tone-poems beamed direct from, and to, the eternal wet Tuesday afternoon of the mind!
The bunkered, light-starved claustrophobia of the mise-en-scene hits you almost as potently as the kinetic energy it can't possibly contain: Chrome-cum-Index guitar scorch; bonehead drum clatter that sounds like some poor soul they've been keeping prisoner in the basement banging his shackles against the radiator; and maniacal half-shouted, half-sung vocals that hector and gabble and murmur and howl and effortlessly communicate the essence of the English Disease...LOOK BUSY!!!
If the piledriving, flat-rush one-chord deathsurf primitivism of 'Favours In' is the sound of thwarted prison-break, the bruised minimal synth space-blooz of 'Ah Ran Bee' is the sound of yer man being recaptured and heavily sedated, trying to make peace with what remains of his life sentence and taking up watercolours. Hard to think of accurate precedents for this fiendish oscillating between detachment and rapture, demolition and dream...Vincent Over The Sink? This Heat’s most pranged-out Cold Storage creations? Maybe Swell Maps' Train Out Of It...? Shoes This High crash-landing on Another Green World (er..)? Side Two is given over to a pair of studio creations that are more sensuous and hi-fidelity, heavily foreshadowing the band members' future work as Speedbooth, Bons, Jam Money etc under the umbrella of their Spillage Fete private press: the life-affirming, all-problems-solving, sunrise-over-suburban-rooftops heartburst of ‘Hobbyist’, and the surreal, sleep-deprived kossack-dance of ‘Plume’, which sounds everything and nothing like the mutant offspring of Pascal Comelade and Pram.
I Can I Can't is the real thing: refined and anarchic, brutal and tender, insolent and withdrawn, a coming-together and a falling-apart, a pure unmediated expression of drudgery and ecstasy. The imagination that does not recognise its own dilemma in these songs… simply does not know the score!