[sic] Magazine

AIDS Wolf – Cities Of Glass

AIDS Wolf are to Noise what Gang Gang Dance are to, well Dance. With this album they edge SLIGHTLY closer to song structure, the rhythmic concerns are greater, giving the eager ear a little something to hold on to – a structure to perceive, whether it is really there or not. This is an album – a music – it is impossible to recommend without qualification. AIDS Wolf are high flyers in the genre “Noise” and as such are not going to appeal to the masses anytime soon. They enjoy confrontation and stage shows that are as much happenings as gigs. This album would provide a good entry level to Noise but that’s probably like saying a blind man would prefer Turner to Picasso. There is no easy way in. But get in we must so lets start at the beginning.

‘M.t.i’ has a menagerie of vocal and instrumental sounds but somewhere in the racket you can feel (if not hear) Zappa and Beefheart. This will show you what you are going to have to deal with throughout. You have to listen and listen again to begin to explore the construction and find meaning. It is not immediate and requires the mind freeing of a sensory depravation tank – a musical Altered States. ‘Tied-Up In Paper’ sounds like Yngwie Malmstein (remember him kids? – unfortunately yes! — ed) being forced into painful repetition, pulling down the frets as Chloe gibbers over pounding construction site percussion.

By the dentist drill metronomic of the title track you will either be lolling over with blood weeping from your orifices or bouncing round the room like a funky caveman, getting it on by lashing your head with a tin tray in support. Much like certain drugs, you probably get more from AIDS Wolf if you just let yourself go with it – at least this will last a very finite period. ‘Down, Holy Ground’ is almost accessible with two and a half minutes of repetitive guitar runs and cymbals covered in (admittedly distorted) singing. ‘Gnarly Tooth’ is cathartic, at least for the participants, closer to Hardcore but definitely without enough structure to qualify. ‘General ‘could actually be called that or the record company may have censored to spare my blushes, though with Skin Graft Records on board, I find that unlikely.

‘Relevant Issues’ sputters out after the usual guitar frottage and unholy wailing to explode again for a post coital scream. With the revving engine of ‘So Many Plastic Pearls’ they’re off like bats out of Hell leaving carnage. The songs are refreshingly uniform or all the bloody same depending on your stand point, they are a kick up the arse or the Emporer’s New Clothes, again depending.

What is sure is Chloe Lum’s wailing is no doubt empowering for women and forty something men who wish they’d had a go. The band refuse to do muso, may not be capable of doing muso, but they are capable of rousing excitement and hackles on a grand scale. So far you can dip into any of their work and find pleasure or pain, reason or madness. I think sometime they will produce something that crosses to the mainstream in some way but I can’t ever see them selling out or opting in.



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