IV by Part ChimpRelease date: April 14, 2017
Label: Rock Action
You know that bit in the Spinal Tap film where they turn the amps up to 11? Well, London’s Part Chimp crank their amps up to 13 and fucking then some. I’m pretty sure that it was them who gave me that joyful high pitched squealing in my ears that never goes away. In all my years of gig going (now semi-retired), I have never witnessed a louder band in such a tiny venue. They also happen to be one of the loudest sounding bands on record too and fourth album, cleverly titled IV continues that trend with 9 tracks of relentless noise rock action.
Throughout the 40 minutes that constitutes IV, you keep asking yourself, how is it even possible to get guitars to sound this bloody LOUD? Then you ask yourself, how is it possible to create music so LOUD but yet introduce such catchy tunes in the process? I don’t have an answer but I do know that Part Chimp have been doing this for 14 years, save for a 5 year hiatus where not much happened. Ever since they first appeared on Mogwai’s Rock Action label I was hooked, at that stage my knowledge of noise rock was minimal. They acted as the gateway to more exciting and interesting music.
There are two moments on IV that constitute a waveform that would be miniscule on one of those Soundcloud sliding scales. (The rest of the album simply fills the entire range of the graph!) One of them is the piano intro to opener ‘Namekuji’ and it lasts exactly 16 seconds before the slamming groove kicks in. Did I say kick? I meant stomp, in giant fucking boots. The groove is a contagious monster of tumbling riffs, amps bouncing down staircase huge. It’s the aural equivalent of one of those optical illusion pictures where steps go round and round and down and down in an eternal loop. Feedback is allowed to roam free and Tim Cedar hollers and howls but at the same time provides an insanely catchy tune.
Music this loud shouldn’t really have the ability to get you dancing but the pile driving riff and runaway train beats of ‘MapoLeon’ provide the kind of groove that will have you throwing limbs about with utter abandon. The lumbering groove of ‘Bouncer’s Dream’ is like two giant Sumo Wrestlers doing their pre-fight routine and still the melody is catchy like some freaked out nursery rhyme. There’s an incessant buzzing riff on ‘Solid Gone’ that sounds like a drunk wasp trying to make its way home before being lifted along by a swarm of wasp police (the fuzz perhaps?).
Album highlight ‘RoRo’ is built on a backdrop of what sounds like a helicopter taking off. Tim’s vocals are buried under an avalanche of rolling sludge and the melody weaves its way through the relentless drone, like a noise rock interpretation of roadhouse blues. ‘Bad Boon’ begins with what sounds like an out of tune guitar, as played by a three year old, before erupting into a volcano of heavy riffs and a thick mix of distorted guitars slowly flowing like lava. The only other moment of quiet calm on this insanely noisy album comes in the bridge where there are no fuzzy guitars or drums. ‘The Saturn Supersition’ wastes no time in getting you locked into a vice like grip of intense two chord riffs and pummelling drums, for a turbo charged romp.
The tempo slows up on the slow melancholic grind of ‘Rad Mallard’, like two tectonic plates shifting over one another. It’s the nearest these guys will get to a ballad and it is weirdly affecting and beautiful. In the distance there are anguished howls like some night time lone drunk singing in the distance, but getting closer. Final track ‘A Lil’ Bit o Justice’ has a head nodding good groove and a catchy tune, I think of it as Part Chimp’s pop moment. The soloing sounds like J Mascis on a bad day, which is actually a good thing and the extended jam that ensues is both joyous and pain inducing.
Part Chimp remain an utterly unique collective with a penchant for creating the most blisteringly loud music both live and on record. They manage to effortlessly intertwine melody and tunes and on IV they have reached the absolute peak of their game. A wonderful album.