“Malevolent undertones, rolling bass, taut rhythms and guitars which alternate between disdainful thrashing and roving single notes” – Crack Magazine
Bristol’s Falling Stacks release their debut full-length No Wives this June through Battle Worldwide Recordings. It follows three acclaimed EPs that have enjoyed airplay from Gideon Coe on 6Music and which Echoes & Dust called ‘deliciously boisterous, disorderly, filthy … experimental avant-garde at its best’.
That sets a serious tone, but the music is leavened by the band’s undeniable humour and lack of self-regard. They describe their sound as ‘like the thrashing and squawking of a buzzard with its leg in a mantrap’ and insist that their songs are ‘mostly about dogs’. Their debut EP was released on the increasingly popular Howling Owl Records, but the band have since flown the coop and settled at Battle in 2013; they play selectively and don’t tour, but do try and gig outside of Bristol as much as possible (anywhere near a decent Turkish restaurant is fine, usually). They are a contrary outfit whose laconic, easy-going approach shouldn’t be mistaken for laziness: their music is fiercely focused, but on the songs rather than the frippery.
That approach is fully evident on No Wives. Like obvious touchstones Fugazi, Sonic Youth and Shellac – and some less obvious, like The Fall and Unwound – Falling Stacks’ music squalls with noise and stutters with shifts in time-signature and groove; but whereas their previous releases have tended towards the wilful, the wayward and the powerfully structureless, No Wives sees the band’s experimentation and disorder contained – always provisionally, mind you – within some pretty great songs. It’s not even difficult to hear in their off-kilter, zany yet melancholy lyrics echoes of the madcap, sorrowful and very English humour of Syd Barratt-era Pink Floyd.
Falling Stacks are a punchy, lacerating, powerful new(ish) presence on whatever scene you want to tag them with; or better yet, leave scenes out of it and simply enjoy them for their blend of anarchy and tautness. And for their distressed buzzard songs about dogs.
“If you were cutting your teeth on the hard edge of Big Black, the lunacy of the Jesus Lizand and the agit-groove of Fugazi then there is a place in your blackened heart for Falling Stacks.” – Louder Than War
“Dark and wickedly disjointed.” – Beat Surrender
“A fascinating introduction to one of the best punk bands to emerge from the UK.” – Elusive Little Comments