[sic] Magazine

Chemtrails – Calf Of The Sacred Cow

Centrist Chemtrails conspiracy theorists seriously think that the contrails left behind high-flying aircraft are signs of “secret” governmental weather modification efforts while extremists think them evidence of chemical manipulation of the populace. What’s more, it turns out the fuzzy, London-based indie-pop band of the same name are only slightly less bonkers.

Calf Of The Sacred Cow is Mia Lust and Laura Orlova’s debut LP following a string of sassy singles and EPs and it’s simultaneously their loudest and catchiest material to date. Once again recorded and produced at Chemtrails HQ, it’s an album that brings to mind the late-00s wave of lo-fi pop which, in its crudeness, masked a multitude of musical sins but let you bop about to light garage-pop free of guilt at the same time. A similar suspension of disbelief has to be summoned to get the most out of Calf Of The Sacred Cow too.

As camp as the proverbial row of tents, it’s also a fairly perfect little pill-shaped capsule of trashy pop if you let it be. As endearing then as, say, those early Best Coast recordings but with the added bite of power-pop guitars, these are nostalgic songs but ones without anchor to any single sound. Consequently they seem like they’ve been with us for years whilst still sounding entirely new. Accordingly, 50s rock ‘n’ roll harmonies jostle synth cascades. Fat bass tones unsettle Lust’s cutesy, effervescent vocals; cladding them in leather and a fug of cigarette smoke, liberal distortion leads melodic choruses firmly astray.

As catchy as moral outrage on social media then, these super saccharine exchanges do in fairness lose some of their impact towards the end of the running order, Chemtrails’ blur of psych-pop passing quite capably but also a little unmemorably to close. On surer footing, however, and decidedly unafraid to rock out, “Tendrils” is pure bubblegum indie fed through a cement mixer. Add a dash of surf and Farsifa organ and the spiky “Wishbone” casts Chemtrails as The Raveonettes … only with a full-on rager for the femme fatale formula to boot. Going kinda glam in turn, the stomping “A Beautiful Cog In The Monolithic Death Machine” (from which the album title comes) is battered garage-pop by way of a backwoods boogie. It almost goes without saying at this point, but those looking for subtlety (and/or conspiracy theories) probably need not apply.

Best track: “Wishbone”