[sic] Magazine

First Glances – Wild Raccoon

The Howlin’ Banana label are having a real go at being In The Red’s Gallic twin. Last featuring on these pages via Volage’s Ty Segall-istic take on The Beatles, now they return with another neat garage grumbler courtesy of Wild Raccoon – a one-man outfit out of Lille who goes by the literal translation of Mr. Raton Sauvage. And straight off the bat you can tell he’s an honest garage lifer, his scrappy DIY fuzz pivoting from sidling melodies to jaunty jangles and stomping hooks. He’s easy on the solos though, preferring snotty, speaker-blown bounce and summery hum. Hence a track like “Fuck Fuck The Bankers” is a lot more subtle than its title would suggest, leaving the garage-punk grind of a track like “To Build A Fire” to do his new Mount Break LP’s heavy lifting, its central groove giving way to smash-and-grab rock.

Speaking the universal language of feedback, “Montreal Gets The Blues” houses hooks enough to catch John Dwyer’s ear despite its thick vocal accent – something that hampers the near spoken-word intro of “Wild Animal Rising” before the track’s pedals crunch in with an almost bluesy onslaught of buzzing psychedelia.

Mount Break is a white-knuckle ride, weird off-mic shouting in Mr. Sauvage’s native tongue complementing his stuttering English-language whoops and hollers. Before its 11-minute blowout the madness is dialled back for a melancholy cover of Daniel Johnston’s twanging “True Love Will Find You In The End”, which allows the freaky jam “Fries ‘n’ Chocolate” the room it needs to build on an incessant toe-tap with guitar fuzz, throat singing and, latterly, some slow sci-fi synth oscillations. Bravo Mr. Sauvage: wild by name, wild by nature.

~Mount Break is out now both digitally and on cassette via Howlin’ Banana Records.~