Naked (on drugs), This Gift (Tombed Visions, 2/24/2017)
Describing sounds like those made by a band like Naked (on drugs) presents a challenge, since they largely defy straight-line comparisons. The group from Salford – who we’ve missed since 2014 – have returned with This Gift, an album containing re-recorded old friends and new material, and featuring a new lineup enhancing the core duo of guitarist Luke Byron Scott and singer/multi-instrumentalist Sebastien Perrin.
“Boudoir Fingers” sets the mood, coming in all big band sex machine and slowly grinding its way towards what seems, at first, like the sounds of la petite mort but ends up something more akin to a scene from “Natural Born Killers”. The band’s perverted swing is evident on the revamped title track, which (without diminishing our fierce loyalty to the original) retains a dirty-faced loucheness and now includes a minutes-long chaotic whirl, as well as new track (and lead single), “Sedative Smile”, a further, Humbert Humbert paean to the “dirty white tights and green leather jacket” clad Lee Ann. Elsewhere, there’s a fine balance of outright groove and experimental noise riffing on tracks like the older “Death Dance” and new, “Rapture” on ludes cut, “The Hair Suit” (a new personal fave), while “The Hotel” provides a leeringly lovely close to the proceedings.
Every so often – including as I was pulling together this word jumble – I get (self-diagnosed) ocular migraines. Beginning as protozoan blobs, they unravel into ever longer, attenuated strands shimmery with the colors of an oil slicked puddle. It seemed fitting. “*Sigh* But, what does it sound like”, you ask? Fine – jazz, goth, noir, new wave, no wave, Nick Cave, Bowie, Brel, Brecht, bop – all thrown into a blender and pulsed, …pulsed, with the top off. Sing in the rain.
This Gift is out now, and available on limited edition cassette via Tombed Visions. Stroll the darkened streets with Naked (on drugs) on fbook, bandcamp and/or their site. Enjoy the video for “Sedative Smile”, below.