By: Geoff Topley

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Released on March 11, 2016 via Super Star Destroyer Records

Last year, the Echoes and Dust Metal Editor, Sander, finally presented me with a Scottish band that I refused to write a review for. BRITNEY, from Edinburgh, just crossed my threshold of sonic acceptance, in terms of just how fucked up a sound I was prepared to tolerate. He assured me that BRITN3Y, their third collection of noise punk/rock (loose description) was not at all scary. Oh, and that they were lovely lads. I cannot comment on the loveliness from a personal point of view, but how in the name of good fuck, is this NOT SCARY?! I have never in all my years of listening to music, ever encountered a recording of someone boking. Until now. By their own admission, BRITNEY are “3 working class lads making real songs for real people”. You can’t get much more real than the aforementioned stomach emptying!

Aligning themselves with R Kelly, in terms of the ability to subvert (See a previous Echoes and Dust article), apparently, “all BRITNEY songs are lyrically, classic love songs in many respects, wrapped in a highly abrasive musical shell”. You won’t know about the lyrical side of that statement as the vocals are indecipherable, but there is no doubt the music is abrasive and downright nasty.

Previously, my exposure to music of such extremity was limited to the likes of Lightning Bolt and Part Chimp, the latter recalled on opener ‘Fully Ben’. Whilst not likely to trouble you in the tune-stuck-in-the-head stakes, this is the most memorable and appealing of the tracks on offer. Ending in a blizzard if alcoholic gargling and growling, the slow dirge grinds to a shambling halt. Then the splattershot manic rhythms and driving bass riffs of Lightning Bolt are recalled on ‘Sneezefic’. The track is over and out in just under two minutes.

What some bands would use as a bridge or mid-section, BRITNEY call a track. The staccato beats and riffs of ‘Witch Bucket’ provide a neat audio illusion headbang moment, the tempo of the overall track completely at odds with the speed of the riff. Clever. ‘Neon Python’ further exacerbates this by showcasing the technical talents these guys have, the timings and rhythms are complex and slippery. When the superb tricky drum patterns and frenetic bass riffs of ‘H-142’ subside, the album moves into much more uncomfortable territory.

Beginning with ‘Sleep Now Dogman’, the aforementioned barfing brings to an end a dastardly two minutes of backtracking, groans, freaky sounds and general dicking around. ‘Manopoz’ is literally 10 seconds of noise that echoes the madness that Napalm Death confounded me with over 20 years ago. Then it’s the sprawling epic (compared to ‘Manopoz’) that is ‘Sonseed’, which rips out 31 seconds of high speed fuckery that just doesn’t make any sense to me. There is a serious groove locked into on ‘Boss Moggy’, but it is only occasional as the track is torn asunder by willful mayhem. Similarly, with ‘I.I.A.H.S.W.E.S’, the track hints at what might be on offer if bloody carnage wasn’t trampling all over it. The fleeting groove moments just never last long enough for me to get to enjoy them.

The album ends with ‘3DPD’, all spidery basslines and explosive drumming. Then some more explosive drumming and hellish noise with added undecipherable growling. At this point I realize that BRITNEY have broken me. Unable to comprehend what constitutes music and what is just destructive noise, I am utterly confused. If fucking heads is BRITNEY’s mission then mission accomplished. This is easily the most challenging album I think I have ever encountered. But yet, I would rather listen to it again than 99.9% of the excruciating shite that currently constitutes the Top 40. So yeah. BRITNEY. Lovely lads.

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