Da Game Is To Be Sold, Not To Be Told

Da Game Is To Be Sold, Not To Be Told


In its religious context, fundamentalism can be murder ...

IN ITS RELIGIOUS CONTEXT, fundamentalism can be murder. Yet if you’re a hardy member of London’s scruff-rock netherworld it can provide the sustenance for life itself. Tom Cullinan was once a Faith Healer, and he remains the spiritual ayatollah at the core of Quickspace, tirelessly sermonising his conviction that hope lies in the drones. Who knows, maybe one day everybody might wake up and agree with him?

The second Quickspace album expands considerably in scope from the smudgy precepts of the first, while never venturing too far from the truths Cullinan holds to be self-evident. Namely: that grooves exist to be grooved to within a sliver of being; flashy production values are the devil’s knave; and no-one cognisant of conventional modes of singing has any place in this band.

Thus, Tom’s latest female vocal foil, Nina Pascalle, burps, squawks and quite volubly expectorates all over the lascivious ‘Quickspace Happy Song #2’ – [I]The Clangers[/I] covering Can – while getting all Maria Callas on the ass of ‘Coca Lola’, as buoyant an exercise in ’90s Krautpop as any. At such miasmic moments, the band sound exultant and sure-footed as hell, the impish country cousins of Stereolab and a rather more clinical strain of metronomika.

Away from the heartland, things get more interesting, though it would appear that sentimental balladry is not the Quickspace forte, as ‘Obvious’ and the particularly bereft ‘Take Away’ tootle around like drunken gardeners who’ve forgotten where they planted the potatoes. With off-key singing.

Yet time and again, Quickspace supply new credence to the hoary notion that Sonic Youth tangling with Can’s ‘Mother Sky’ would be the greatest record ever. ‘Mouse’ is the album’s lingering jewel, a sinister appraisal of sexual politics (possibly), where Nina whispers and Tom gradually but remorselessly cranks up the liturgy.

This album, then, is Quickspace in quintessence: often brilliant, occasionally dreary, but always vehement in its devotion to the cause. Pissed-up in the pulpit ain’t such a bad thing to be.