So finally, it seems, the unhappy lull in British noise rock is on the wane. Leading the pack of the new ear-abusing guard is Glasgow’s ‘nae wave’ scene, a timely Scots update of the early 1980s New York movement that spawned the mighty likes of Sonic Youth, Swans and Teenage Jesus & The Jerks. Two of its gnarly offspring, Divorce and Ultimate Thrush, recently completed their first UK tour together. I managed to get down to their London date at Catch and witness probably the best small gig line-up I’ve seen this year tear the audience to shreds with their blasts of cacophonous squall.
Divorce are a four-woman, one-man screeching urban nightmare of a band. It’s abrasive, menacing and thoroughly thrilling stuff, with an eye on Lydia Lunch’s snarling early years as a reference point. Live, the band members alternate between slamming themselves into the crowd and coaxing out blood-curdling guitar squelches from their hard-done-by amps. Their excellent 10” EP somehow breaks all the rules by managing to capture all that intensity in recorded form.
Just as loud and bewilderingly abrasive are Ultimate Thrush, a rosy-cheeked trio that violate the rotting corpse of Scratch Acid in short bursts of visceral, bloody noise. Their maniacal frontman careens through the audience wearing a creepy old-man mask and cape, bellowing at the top of his lungs over the thundering drums and pneumatic guitar riffs of his bandmates. It’s a sound that doesn’t feel it could possibly be made by only three people, never mind these cherubic-looking youngsters. Their self-titled EP is an equally superb trip into the abyss and can be downloaded free from the Winning Sperm Party website.