Lo-fi, bare-bones-with-bits-of-flesh-hanging, minimalist production is a necessity for every release by Turin howlers Sloks. With the group’s debut LP, Holy Motor, this minimalism is enhanced via the efforts of the French engineer and noise champion, Lo-Spider, who plays an integral part in bringing forth a sound so nihilistic. It’s compelling to see if their live show can replicate such a sound in person.
A short e-mail exchange with guitarist Buddy Fuzz sheds light onto how they accomplish this: “It’s really the alchemy and skills of Lo-Spider [engineer, Destination Lonely songwriter]; he’s very good at listening and interpreting your needs. I just turned on my amp, and we did everything we could to deliver what [Reverend] Beat-Man asked for, which was for the tracks to sound like nothing nice.”
The secret is out: Art Haus, suicide garage punk is made through the direction of a Swiss label owner and a French engineer in Toulouse. It’s only right these two men back Holy Motor, Beat-Man’s label (Voodoo Rhythm), and Lo-Spider’s studio (Swampland Recordings), which is responsible for cutting and releasing some of the more savage sounding garage punk sessions across Europe in recent years. Most labels wouldn’t even take a second look this stuff!
A brief song, “Dad Can Dance” is about as long as you can stand to watch your father embarrass himself on the dance floor.
Holy Motor adds to their body count with ten dark tracks that bleed misanthropy and anti-social behavior, with the lyrical content written by their leading lady, Ivy Claudy. It goes without saying that we should expect nothing less from a scowling woman who donned a “Fuck Emos” shirt in her band’s press photo. These three also don’t cater to suspense or musical build up, as Claudy’s blood-curdling, banshee-like shrieks overpower Fuzz’s ringing guitars on the album’s opener “One Up”. The track is their first single released as a band, and it gets treated to a violent reworking of dissonant guitars and “singing”, both incoherent and lunacy-like in delivery.
What’s enticing about Claudy, are the methods of delivery she employs, swinging on a whim from disjointed to in synch and flowing with her bandmates. It’s like she’s intentionally throwing us off with this manner while adding eccentricity to the band’s makeup. “Killer” is a prime example as her singing rolls off like a dark nursery rhyme being recited: “I’m searching for my killer/ I’m waiting for my killer/I’m looking for my killer/’cause I’m just so bored, I’m so just so low/I’m searching for my killer/I’m waiting”. Meanwhile, Fuzz’s guitar plays circus-like chords which makes the song all the more sinister sounding.
The track “Rat” is the polar opposite; a no wave influenced effort, with rambling lyrics, explosive guitar tone, and Peter Chopsticks’ exemplary drumming abilities keeping cadence for the sake of volume and nothing else. The tracks “Lost Memories”, “Crashing”, and the mentally-ill sounding title track, add a gritty, blues-punk aspect to balance the overall dissonance that rounds out the album.
Now you’re aware, Sloks are out there and their mantra is minimalism yields maximum results. Do yourself a favour, and grab a copy of Holy Motor from Voodoo Rhythm Records.
Holy Motor Track Listing:
01. One Up
03. Holy Motor
04. Jazz Is Dead
06. Dad Can Dance
07. The Swamp
09. Lost Memories
10. By the River
Run Time: 29:16
Release Date: September 21, 2018
Record Label: Voodoo Rhythm Records