[sic] Magazine

Spray Paint – Feels The Clamps

Spray Paint are at great pains to distance themselves from a movement they’ve dubbed as “try-too-hardcore.” Cute terminology aside, however, and despite an incredibly prolific release schedule, the Austin-based noise-punks hardly seem to try at all at times in retaliation. That’s the impression their minimal post-everything no-wave formula delivers anyway, but listen closely and the three-piece are always fine-tuning, ever tightening the screw. Their lyrics, for example, are made of the shrewdest of observations. They’re built either from “stolen bits of [overheard] conversation” or from more personal experience – take the album title, which comes from the “not good feeling” guitarist Cory Plump gets when returning home to rural Indiana, his monotone vocal charting the unease at being in a “not a very open-minded area” when he intones: “Walking in I feel the clamps”. The matter-of-factness with which this and others observations are made (talk later turns to the fact that it “seems like everyone is getting cancer”) ensure the depressing hangover established in Dopers, one of two Spray Paint albums released last year, prevails once more. Explaining the similarities, Chris Woodhouse (Thee Oh Sees, FUZZ, Zig Zags) produced both albums, but then as now don’t go expecting hooks or melodies.

In that vein, Feel The Clamps is similar, too, to previous LP, Punters On A Barge, in that its repetitive drums are used to usher in a kind of acerbic kraut-rock. Reminiscent at the same time of so many industrial noise bands – Sub Pop to the more obscure, 90s to the more contemporary – it’s often difficult to pin Spray Paint down to a single main influence. One constant though, see the sludgy “Shovelling” for proof, is the steering hand of mid-80s punks feedtime. Underneath its peels of feedback, the surging “Bin Man Dreams” had a working title of “feedtime song”, too, as if to confirm the point, and it’s no surprise Spray Paint hooked up with the band to play when recently in Sydney. And, whether by accident of design, Feel The Clamps has certainly harnessed the best of that outpost’s many “mean sounding bands”.

Spray Paint are all too ready to concede that “America has too much BBQ rock” and Feels The Clamps is pure antidote to it. It has a gleeful bottom-dwelling level of abrasion, its clanging post-punk riffs given a sadistic churn. Frenetic in part without ever losing control, slower tempos also throng in its darkest corners. Chris Stephenson’s drums sound like banging on the side of a transit van throughout and there’s the ever-present hum of equipment operating at the upper ends of its limits. Right up to its closing statement, Feel The Clamps feels suitably punishing, dissolving finally during the tongue-in-cheek “George Finally Shows Up” into bewildering beats and tense synth creep (George as in second guitarist Dishner). On the rack, it’s a track and album that fades to black like joints popping open, limb tearing from limb. Pray it has mercy on your soul.

~Feels The Clamps will be released 17th June 2016 via Goner Records.~