Heavy Psych Sounds is an underground label that continues to gain respect for their signings, and from their name you could well guess the sort of sound that characterised their first forays. However, taking a step away from purely nominative determination, three piece San Francisco noise merchants Disastroid have been added to their roster, bringing a different direction with ‘Mortal Fools’ that might not immediately be associated with the marque, but one that is most definitely welcome.
Kicking off with ‘8hr Parking’ it is instantly apparent that the 90’s Seattle grunge sound is a prominent influence for the band, simple thrusting drum beats mixed with fuzzy bass and guitar, sneered lyrics set in the smoke and grim reality of urban decay rounding out the sound. This lo-fi approach continues with ‘Hopeless’, a slow slugger of a number, redolent of the sound of Corrosion of Conformity during their Pepper free three piece years, laconically angry riffs chugging the track along before the distortion infused goodness of title track ‘Mortal Fools’ stumbles out of the speakers like a blurry eyed youth from the doorway of an, ahem, inexplicably smoky club.
Just to ensure the listener doesn’t drift off the pace and volume picks up with ‘The Crewser’, the thud of the guitar heavily redolent of Kim Thayil’s early Soundgarden work; indeed that seminal act’s sound can be heard echoing through the whole album. Going even further back in time to the early days of garage, and I mean the proto-punk sixties and seventies music, not the electronic dance bobbins of the nineties, ‘Reset’ with its even more stripped back sound is a track that clearly pays homage to its Stoogian forefathers, indeed, swap out the vocals for those of a certain insurance selling Mr Pop and it could easily be a lost gem from their back catalogue.
Everything follows on in a suitably down and dirty fashion with ‘Bilge’, before the stripped back basic punk sprint of ‘Insect Mind’ arrives, the sub three minute format perfectly suiting the frenetically delivered subject matter, a stark contrast to the slow drag of ‘Deep Well’, all before the band throws together all their influences in the melange of ‘Space Rodent’, a mix of beats alternately lethargic and scurrying, held together by a near grating dichordant guitar solo.
Disastroid are clearly intent on eliminating the necessary, ignoring technical flourishes and recording studio polish to produce an album that sounds like it was recorded in a single warts and all session, and could clearly be reproduced live without the needs of any electronic trickery. So, if you like your music basic and played from the gut, ‘Mortal Fool’ is definitely one for you.