Album Reviews

Kong – Snake Magnet

(Brew) UK release date: 13 July 2009

Such a lot has been made of the Manchester sound over the years and in particular Madchester. The aesthetic of baggy, the essence of loose fit and the slack jawed drawl of The Happy Mondays has seemingly permeated every band that has followed them down the M6.

Posing about in voluminous trousers would most certainly not be Kong’s style. There’s no space in any of these songs and none of them are a loose fit. Taut and wiry from the word go this is a challenging and ripped album fuelled by amphetamines rather than MDMA.

As far as Kong are concerned, we should forget Manchester as an influence. That’s far too provincial. There’s very little about Kong that sounds British or English at all. In fact you would have to say that most of Kong’s influences come from the good old USA.

Aggressive, angry and wired to blow, Kong’s closest living relative would have to be Shellac. Dig through the fossil records and you could easily argue that this insane blast of freeform hardcore (check out Gwant for a perfect example) has also retained characteristics of Big Black and My War era Black Flag. There are also frequent nods to the likes of Red Medicine period Fugazi and the more proggy work outs of Nirvana (we’re thinking specifically of Endless Nameless, as a wave of searing feedback fuses with gunshot snare drums and unforgiving bass).

Good Graphics breaks free from the guitar driven onslaught for a few minutes to indulge on what sounds like a computer malfunction caused by the static charge built up by a 600 strong drum circle who insist on only wearing nylon slacks.Nih could easily fit on a Mclusky album, if only Mclusky hadn’t been so adept at stripping everything down to the bone.

There is muscle and fibre to what Kong do after all. Unafraid to let a song run away with them this entire album is awash with frequent time changes, scattered ideas that sometimes work out and sometimes don’t. Jazzy in some parts – A Hint of Rinnit, Innit, and proggy in others – also A Hint Of Rinnit, Innit – the band are more than willing to go off the beaten path. If the end result doesn’t quite work out, at least they got to beat the path. This is all about expression, sonic violence and sheer bloody mindlessness. It may not work all the time, but we have to salute Kong for having balls the size of (King) Kong.

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Kong – Snake Magnet