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Monday, 21 May 2012

Debris - 'Static Disposal' (Anopheles)

This 76-minute collection of Debris' lone 1976 private-press LP + all sorts of rehearsal materials is a window into a warped vision of music coming from Chickasha, Oklahoma. 35 years ago I like to think the South and Midwest was producing the freakiest freaks of all, whose geographic isolation makes them all the more special. Historical excavation has given us gems such as the Pataphysical revue CD from Tuscaloosa, Alabama and whatever the Reverend Dwight Frizzell was doing in Kansas. Debris are somewhere in-between these outer limits and semi-local peers like the Embarassment, except in that proto-punk way. Static Disposal is a great bit of fun, though it's the first eleven tracks, comprising the album proper, which are at least remotely polished. This is closer to the ramshackle rock of Pere Ubu or Chrome than anything too exploratory, as everything is grounded by the guitar-bass-drums, though with synths, saxes, and a vocal delivery one part glam, one part asylum. Part of the joy of Debris is their obscurity and unlikely surroundings - we can only imagine what they were aspiring to be, though I guess it's all laid out in the 32-page booklet that I got bored reading. Some songs like 'One Way Spit' and 'New Smooth Lunch' are utterly brilliant in their cracked grandeur. In other moments, the affected Bryan Ferryisms of the vocalists (either Johnny Gregg or Oliver Powers) achieve actual empathy, such as in the bluesy 'Tell Me'. A Lizard King even appears in 'Flight Taken', perhaps the most sci-fi and drugged of these tunes (though you have to wonder what you could score in Chickasha). There's no rock pyrotechnics here, not much improvisation - instead a warped cry of misfits from a true East ga-bumfuck. After track 11 we start to get into rehearsal tapes which are of course much more fun, though harder to listen to. We get a better sense of the band as a unit here, as on 'Zebra Ranch' where there's actually a pretty cohesive bass/drums groove at points. 'Gun' is the longest and freakiest workout, with damaged Echoplex guitar noise, and a monotonous rhythmic bed behind. It's a testament to one-take magic, and the wonder of the CD format means we can experience it today,

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