Wild Mercury Sound

Monkeys, Boredoms, Thursday

John Mulvey

"Brianstorm", the new Arctic Monkeys single, turned up in the Uncut office yesterday, and it's a relief to report that our first impressions weren't wrong. It's good.

"Brianstorm" is quite a sneaky song, in that it pretends to be awkward; a difficult single with a 30-second intro, nothing exactly resembling a chorus, great splurges of chuntering guitar and a classically meandering Alex Turner melody. The thing is, after one and a half plays, it becomes really insidious, almost maddeningly so. I'm still sticking to that idea of a Queens Of The Stone Age/Specials hybrid, but there's this recurring riff that has the same stuttery, morse-code quality of The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army". The Stripes are a pretty good analogue for the Monkeys now, come to think of it, in that they affect to be uncompromising and tricky to boost their self-image, but are actually an extremely clever pop band on the sly.

Unlike, of course, the Boredoms. At this point, there is some debate as to whether this phantasmagorically brilliant Japanese band still exist: the version that has played in the UK in the past few years is technically the Vooredoms.

Bear with me. The Boredoms emerged at some point in the late '80s, a fairly crazed mix of art, noise and hyperactive punk rock. Over the course of some great albums, they evolved into a trancey, deeply psychedelic marvel, climaxing with the "Vision Create Newsun" album and the suggestion that leader Eye had become involved in a sun-worshipping cult. Eye and drummer Yoshimi P-We (the very same Yoshimi immortalised by the Flaming Lips) recruited two more drummers and started playing incredible drum circle shows, notionally as the Vooredoms - resulting in 2004's great "Seadrum/House Of Sun" album.

Throughout the '90s, though, the band also released a series of ultra-experimental albums in Japan called "Super Roots", which were prohibitively expensive outside their homeland. It's good news, then, that the estimable Very Friendly label are putting out all but one of the "Super Roots" CDs in the UK. This week, we've been fixated on "Super Roots 7" (from 1998) in the Uncut office.

It's on again now, predictably. In theory, it's a cover of "Where Were You?", the Mekons' ancient punk rallying cry. In practice, it's a 20 minute extravaganza of slashing riffs, techno ripples and radically overdriven Krautrock; imagine Stereolab freaking out - and you're not even close, to be honest.

I read somewhere the other day that the Vooredoms are reconfiguring in New York this summer for a show featuring, I think, 76 drummers. I've not seen a better live band these past few years; hard to imagine quite how good this one will be.


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