UTR063 | LP | 14 tracks, 33 mins
Here's a new instalment in Upset The Rhythm's split LP series, that's previously seen Gary War, Purple Pilgrims, Please and Spin Spin The Dogs swap sides most recently. This record teams up like-mindedly loopy, art-damaged Londoners, Ravioli Me Away and Dog Chocolate. Inspired by an evening when both bands performed at London's DIY-hub Power Lunches, this LP came together through mutual appreciation, as well as gastronomic necessity.
Ravioli Me Away are a dangerously ambitious and delusional all-girl jazzy, post-pop-punk, hip-funk outfit with a stylistic theme spanning all past, present and future human cultures and subcultures. Consider vintage Bananarama played with twice the sass and urgency, only reflected in the eyes of a much overworked and downright exhausted Julie Burchill on acid.
Featuring members of Plug and the aforementioned Spin Spin The Dogs, Ravioli Me Away don't shy away from the impeccable vocal melodies and clattersome hooks you'd expect. 'Mic Check' is as hypnotic as it is sparse with plaintive keyboard touches and interplaying vocals that gambol across the drum machine. 'Cat Call' is a triumph of questing basslines and eerie synth blushes, locked down by Sian's charismatic choruses and Alice's asides in between: "When you leave the house and you turn around the corner you might see something you'd rather you hadn't, who knows what it could be? You never know, take it from me!"
Dog Chocolate are an elasticated, punk quartet based on the principles of self-propulsion and having too much fun. Jono plays a couple of drums, Matthew plays a guitar and a load of pedals, Rob plays another guitar and sings selected songs whilst Andrew sings most of the songs and plays impressionistic blasts of keyboard when he's not.
Having been active in a number of other bands including Yeborobo, Limn, Gasp! Cracking Eggs, Tea And Toast Band and Moulsecoomb Sword Gang, all four members are also frantic doodlers and illustrators. This over-spill of creativity can be seen on their side of this split LP, entitled 'Or', which sees the band sprint through ten tracks of barely-controlled chaotic glee.
Never dwelling for long, Dog Chocolate treat us to songs about pregnancy, poisoned eyes, public transport and cakes. Their observational, often candid lyrics match their nonsensical attitude to their music too, which tumbles and chases pitchshifted guitars through thick forests of feedback and blasting drums.
"Tony's umbrella, Tony's umbrella, it's made of aluminium and replica leather," deadpans Rob on their anthemic retort to the possessive brolly owner, before Andrew joins him to whip it up into a frenzy. It all leaves you convinced in the old adage that if you put a bar of dog chocolate next to a bunch of bars of normal chocolate, it might look the same but it ain't the same, because you know it was made by dogs!
'Dog Chocolate / Ravioli Me Away' makes for a winning split LP, showcasing London's glorious underground. When the menu arrives this tasty, who needs three courses? Limited to 500 copies on 180g black vinyl with printed insert and dual sleeve.