Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Soft Issues

Soft Issues EP

I was in Leeds the other week to see Sleaford Mods at Beckett University. The yearly pilgrimage to catch up on Underwood in Peter Grant mode in the brief five minutes spare he has between flogging t-shirts and trying to work out which city he’s in. Looking around the sold out Beckett University gig space mid Sleaford Mods set, from my vantage point of stage left just a bit in behind the bloke who was bigger than me but at least stood still, I reckoned I was the second oldest person there. It was noisy of course and good fun but I got knocked around like a pinball and I think I’m getting too old for it now. At one point someone making their way back from the bog or the bar tripped over the person behind me and hit me full on in the back. It was an accident, the guy was apologetic, he wasn’t drunk but it made me realize that going to gigs of such nature was best left to those who don’t mind going home covered in beer spray.

The week previous I was in Leeds to see Charlemagne Palestine and Ryhs Chatham at the Howard Assembly Rooms. And to see Campbell get his Astral Social Club vibe on in support too. This is much more my kind of gig now; comfy [ish] chair, bar outside without a massive queue where you can get a drink in a glass, no knobheads shoving you in the back and Campbell was on form as was Charley and Rhys though its a pity Rhys had feedback  problems and they had to cut the set short. At least we got to see them do a duet with squeaky teddy bears. If there’d have been no feedback there might not have been any squeaky teddy bears.

An email from Soft Issues leads to the discovery that there’s a new Leeds ‘harsh noise/drone’ band in existence and that of a new venue; Chunk, which is on Meanwood Road and is the home to lots of bands that I never knew existed. This is all good news of course and I dare say that Chunk is the kind of venue where gentlemen of a certain age aren’t shoved in the back by people returning from the bar [they don’t have bar anyway its bring your own].

Soft Issues EP is a five track download only offering at the moment but is due for cassette release through Concrete Block Records. I’m waving my physical review rule only once again to bring you news of exciting developments in the world of Leeds noise. Yes, genuine excitement. Its been a while since I reviewed anything of genuine noise content but here it is and its in Leeds and its noisy.

The people responsible for Soft Issues are duo whose names are unknown to me. It matters not. What matters is that I’ve just discovered a truism in that anyone from Yorkshire who shouts over walls of noise sounds like either YOL or Dave Walklett. On the first two tracks its like Yol and Walklett twinned up with William Bennet in the dying days of Whitehouse. The similarity is uncanny. This may put some people off or decry them as copyists but I couldn’t care less. When things eventually do slow down with ‘The Thrill of Seeing Your Friends Fall’ its to a cavernous five minute long two key drone with a spoken word dialogue that you can barely make out that sounds like someone reading from the works of Sigmund Freud. ‘Degloving’ is the first two tracks again, hammer hard speeded up electronic rhythms, screaming, shouting before the chip out track ‘Hetchell’ and more wasteland washes and the screaming of tortured lost souls.

Is it drone? Only just. Is it noisy? In parts yes. Is it from Leeds. Most definitely.

As far as I know this is their first outing. Maybe I’ll catch them at Chunk one day. I'll have a chair please.


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