A fully realised and richly imaginative disc, full of hypnotic instrumentals, squalls of noise and cut-up vocals, reminding me of The Serpents and containing a track called “243 seconds of elvis followed by a scream” which suggest the whole album could be viewed as a collection of sound effects for a bizarre amateur production of a movie about Tom Parker, but probably isn’t. Either way this is a gem of an album well worth the trouble of tracking down.
Strap The Button are a seriously talented and certainly innovative young group. They seem to be influenced by a scene that was around decades before they were born, yet have a perfect understanding of its structures, textures and spirit. Going To Jib Choons... doesn't strike immediately, for a start there is too much going on to absorb in one sitting. This is, by far, one of the most ambitious, progressive and craziest releases to come out of these shores in some time and is made all the more remarkable by the band’s youth.
With grooves based on prog rock, a little bit of Kraut sound collage, and some folk and post-rock, “Going to Jib..” swirls with so many rich images, musically that it sounds like it was made by a band that has been around for years and is ready for their big risk. This is fun and cinematic, like an instrumental soundtrack to a film you are never sure you are supposed to be scared or exhilarated while listening. Here, you can do both...Ambitious is the only word to describe these kids. They think in epic terms, have handy the whole history of experimental music at their fingertips, and, given their age, have so many years to expand on what is already a compelling sound. 9/10
Opening track 'GNFaR Cd001' leads us in gently. A quiet organ slowly melts in as the rumble of sound edges ever closer. The guitars are subtle with a quiet bass line 'sulking in' reminding me a little of Pink Floyd around 'Dark Side Of The Moon'. It's either hit or miss with post rock, boring & bland or expansive & mind expanding. Seems Strap The Button play the latter hand. Second track 'Machines' is a collage of sound, bringing the scraping of un-oiled hinges with the chugging of engines. Think the suspense of a Submarine film thriller. 'Casualty' is not a reworking of the TV series theme tune, it's rather a jazzy little number that takes the Sonic Youth sound al la Jim O'Rourke mixing it with Xylophones & building drums. Guitars pluck out a moody soundtrack, very cinematic. Strap The Button take their music & skew it into a film world. Each track has immense detail, leaving the listener captivated or at least bemused to the point of wanting to fully understand their music. Songs like 'Paperclipbeard The Pirate' show a sort of Steve Malkmus style workout, but before it can be too much a musical narrative it takes a trip through Syd Barrett's psychedelic world. Strap The Button go from Jazzy to avant-garde within the space of a song. Their song lengths are sensible & nothing is overblown or pompously arranged. They are one with their music & make challenging music for listeners who think outside the box. Recommended.
Dripping with many disparate and seemingly incompatible influences, Going To Jib Choons…. was always going to be pretentious and scrappy. But art-school pratting about aside, there is much here to suggest that Strap The Button ought definitely to carry on with their sonic experimentation. Playful and serious in equal measure, the band possesses a seemingly boundless ambition, and the moments where that ambition is successfully channelled demonstrate huge potential. Going To Jib Choons…swings wildly between the experimental and the derivative - a sizeable section of the album draws a little too heavily upon the work of Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch. Yet Strap The Button are one of those bands who threaten to release a great record any minute now, and, given their tender ages, they’ve plenty of time to be getting on with it.
Strange vibrations from this Welsh group who combine elements of Zappa-esque sound montage, kraut rock and the surrealistic humor of The Residents. For the most part, Strap the Button is truly unclassifiable, though some common points of reference, in addition to those just mentioned, might include Faust, Neu, Etron Fou and Captain Beefheart. Both of these CDs are wildly eclectic, perhaps because Strap the Button fuses musical genres in such an arbitrary way that it's difficult to get an accurate fix on just where the group's allegiance lies. The group uses a myriad of samples and loops in combination with synthesizers, various keyboards, guitar, bass and drums in order to produce a rather unorthodox aural experience, though the sonic cacophony of both Faust and The Residents comes about as close to an accurate analogy as you'll get when trying to describe Strap the Button.
The extended tracks on What Kind of Rat Bastard Psychotic…? show the group at their most experimental, while Going to Jib Choons… (and, no, I have no idea what a Jib or a Choon is) features, comparatively speaking, shorter and more "song-oriented" material, some of which could almost be described as quasi-pop, though with a decidedly punky edge at times. "Machines," for instance, from Going to Jib Choons… sounds like an impromptu meeting of Kraftwerk and Throbbing Gristle at a Dusseldorf oil refinery. On the other hand, "Stay Still, I'll Get the Camera" (also from Going to Jib Choons…) could've been a track on Wire's Chairs Missing or Pink Flag. Several of the longer pieces on What Kind of Rat-Bastard Psychotic…? are collages of sound and noise and seem to be the true métier of this group. "The Fully Grown Giant Otter Cannot Be Killed," one of the disc's stand out tracks, merges electronics and frenetic guitar into what might aptly be called ambient punk. The same can be said for several of the other songs on What Kind of Rat-Bastard Psycotic…? Neither CD is particularly easy to digest, but both have surprises and rewards for the patient listener who's willing to hear with an open ear.