I do like many of the releases that appear on underground independent labels, often run by bands themselves and Hummus records is very much like that. This promo I received is different, not a digital download, preferred by labels these days, but a promo CD accompanied with a newspaper, which at first I thought was just packing material. Closer inspection reveals that the newspaper unfolds to reveal some unique art work on each page and the album credits inside the back cover. The art work is strange as expected, more like sculptures of tree branches adorned with various attachments. You’re probably reading the band name and thinking you know them and you’re partly right comprising 50% mix of Red Fang and Kunz, with Aaron Beam and John Sherman from the former and Louis Jucker and Luc Hess from the latter. Now what also makes this strange is that generally the music centres around two bass guitars and two drummers with occasional guitar work and of course vocals. So now you’re thinking it’s going to sound like Kylesa due to two drum kits, well partly it is but this is a far more primitive yet is very engaging.
Recorded in one day in January, the 15th, the album is spontaneous, energetic and feels improvised as the release starts with “Transatlantic”. Bass melodies and drums sound like the 70s, raw yet possessing a clean almost laid back atmosphere. With each bass creating its own melody they weave round like an aural skein. The drumming adds layers of density and often become chaotic, discordant avalanches within a retro template. As “The Beggar” starts I couldn’t help but think about Hawkwind, that spacey droning bass line style but very catchy and involved. Listening to “Prisms” I was thrown back to a time when you heard one instrument in one speaker and another in the other speaker and this applied to the bass guitars here, old style whether deliberate or not I enjoyed the effect tremendously. Eventually the drums add texture and depth virtually in tandem with the bass. Parts of this tune listen like post-rock even though I really dislike the term it fits with the style. Vocally this is relatively simplistic, a seemingly spoken style they are practically indistinguishable from the bass on the title track. Again the drums are chaotic, randomised beatings that are confused and aimed at unsettling the listener and it works.
Experimentation in music and especially in metal is often overlooked in favour of the ear friendly style most extreme bands have adopted but Red Kunz throws rocks at that vision with their own brand of fuzzed out freakishness.
(8/10 Martin Harris)