The Evil Usses: What They’re Not

30th April 2018

Title: Muck

Label: Stolen Body

So let’s see here, within The Evil Usses we’ve got Leon Boydon on bass with Dan Truen on drums. The intriguing mixture of tenor sax with electronics belongs to Lorenzo Prati while the guitar hangs off Conrad Singh. This is not so much an album but mini version of the same, hence the grooves only filling a 10” disc (although I reviewed the CD version).

I’ve heard ‘talk’ about this group. Mainly from press and record label people. You know the sort of thing, “They sound like…”  This is normally a desperate way to grab reflective glow off famous names to make the group sound better than they might be. 

So – using this new release as a reference – let me debunk a couple of those and tell you who they are not and, at the same time, inform you of exactly what they are.

Firstly, there is is the Frank Zappa connection. I can see where this comes from because of the experimental and exploratory nature of the rock they play – and play is operative here, I heard no vocals. Yet there is little satire here, no bodily functions were discussed and no political or social targets were maimed. Also, while jazz influences are resident, Zappa’s are more overt. 

Cardiacs? Not really. Well, a little bit. Especially on Wow Town. It’s a homage. There’s not enough edge, not enough jerk or smirk and not enough left turns after taking right turns. Less punk but more prog.

There are plenty of changing time signatures here with often playful uses of instrumentation and tone and the Cardiacs’ use of crisp and shiny arrangements can be detected.

The overall flavour from The Evil Usses is high energy, bounce, proggy complexity and invention that will repay the time it needs to become fully aquatinted. We’re not talking hooks for tapping here. This is a complex musical novel of sound that requires engagement. Oh, and not a bad master, either. Relatively neutral with compression, yes, but nothing too scary. Only the band is scary. 

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