[sic] Magazine

oldboy – bloody

A ferocious blast from the past, bloody is the debut album by oldboy, a SE-England trio in thrall to Touch And Go, AmRep and pre-grunge Sub Pop. Recorded and mixed in quick, Steve Albini-approved timeframes, bloody is the real deal, angular post-punk riffs and concessions to louche psychobilly the only hints we’re not sitting on an actual lost piece of US noise.

Rarely out of control, these are precision assaults often capable of more destruction but held back in order to be true to slacker hardcore (the frontman even affects a US accent to spit out “water” as “warter”). Tight and nasty, raw and fun, it’s clear the lads are having a ball and so lead track, “big balls”, proves, its bass distortion and skittering guitars hopping from foot to foot as if on hot coals.

Ugly punk, the sound of knuckles being skinned on rusty strings, and yet with an ear for a hook straight from the abattoir, oldboy may be “soft to the touch”, but they’re also quick to stiffen, throwing up a rabid herky-jerk while attacking some sheet metal with a hammer. Static from the pickups a permanent hum, the throaty bass drops like heavy artillery, whipcrack snares and protesting feedback baring their teeth in the face of the sneering vocal.

Acid-bath fuzz wrecking the EQ, criminal bass noise smothers the kit, that snarl making room for itself like elbows in the pit, only “pedestal” really deviating from the template. The same sound but unwound to luxurious six-minute proportions, it dials down the intensity and tempo to jam it all out of the band’s system, rattling the corrugated iron of their industrial unit set-up, its headbanging close bringing to mind 80s Butthole Surfers.

A faithful and loving retread of an urgent and essential period in rock, and keeping the comparisons coming, you really wouldn’t bat an eyelid if bloody was revealed to be some missing link between the likes of Shellac, Helmet, Tad, etc., it taking an oldboy to show the young’uns how it’s really done.

Best track: “big balls”

~bloody is released 1st July 2022 via Agitated.~