Release Date: Aug 5, 2016
Record label: Upset the Rhythm
In rock, the only guy who loves drum solos is the one on the throne. Many a disparaging comment has been made about the rest of the band shoving off for a smoke while the drummer hacks away; audience members, too, often roll their eyes and stagger over to the bar. What turns people off from such a workout? My educated guess is that most people prefer melodies over discord, and they can’t hear that la-la-la in the drummer’s rat-a-rat-a-rat-a-slam-slam-SLAM.
If we’re all merely swinging in the breeze waiting for musical context to latch onto, then the first long-player from this Nottingham two-piece is a curious proposition. Double drum kit, vox and the occasional tendril of ancillary percussion, Rattle emphasises its structured minimalism whilst functioning as a blank canvas, the lack of conventional instrumentation encouraging the listener to interact with the beat on their own terms. Such an approach doesn’t always work in the album’s favour; awash with snare and cymbal, it’s far from obvious which direction Katharine Eira Brown and Theresa Wrigley are headed, opener Trainer (Get You) progressive yet craving melody.
Is there a harder sell than the all-drum band? It’s one thing to see a purely percussive group live and get swept up in their visual dynamic and the room’s collective energy, but listening on record demands a certain level of dedication—a need to reset your internal pulse, maybe—or just plain masochism. Undeterred by the hard sell, Nottingham’s Katharine Eira Brown and Theresa Wrigley took a break from their respective regular bands Kogumaza and Fists to unite under the onomatopoeic banner Rattle in 2011, galvanized by the demand for imagination inherent in such a project. That doesn’t mean Wrigley and Brown are big on showmanship.
In our maximalist, sensory overloading times it's bewildering to find something as sonically spacious, sparse and economic as a dialog of two drum sets. Being bombarded with information reduces us to passivity and egotism; "We don’t want to assault the listener with too much to listen to, think about and take in, all at once." Rattle's very manifesto for music allows us breathing and thinking space. Theresa Wrigley (of Fists) and Katharine Brown (of Kogumaza) began playing together out of genuine curiosity and, as a result, have created a quietly dramatic and loudly intimate record.