The Total Rejection make good time, scuffed up, messy rock and roll in the style of the likes of The Buff Medways. Turn it up loud, pour yourself a drink, and enjoy
Remember when gigs were a thing? Last year I went to a pub in Salford to see Bristol’s The Total Rejection in all their raucous glory. The gig was fantastic, like seeing ‘65 era The Who playing The Seeds or 13th Floor Elevators songs at full pelt and full volume. They may well wear their influences on their paisley patterned sleeves but there are precious few bands around these days who can distill the sound of 60s garage punk so powerfully and successfully.
The first two albums took this live formula and added a heavy dose of Billy Childish primitivism mixed with a swirling vortex to rival Hawkwind’s sonic attack on the senses. Pleasingly ‘The Time Traveller’s 3rd Will And Testament’ builds on the raw sound of it’s predecessors with a riotous guitar assault of tremelo and wah wah abuse, while the drums seem possessed with the spirit of Keith Moon and the vocals are strained to breaking point and the Hammond organ wails. It’s thrilling stuff!.
They’re not just wilful noisemakers though as the songs themselves are stuffed with hooks and pop melodies aplenty. The album takes you on a tour of half remembered riffs from the past with more than a passing nod to early Kinks , Stones, The Pretty Things, The Who, The Prisoners , The Seeds, The Buff Medways…..in short it’s good old rock n’ roll. There’s also a great cover version of Bohemian Vendetta’s 1967 psych nugget ‘Enough’ which fits seamlessly alongside their own compositions.
The Hawkwind style psych-wigouts are still evident in songs like ‘Fly’ but there’s some contrast to be found, such as with the song ‘Caravan’ which offers a rare moment of reflection.
By the time you reach the final song ‘Distress Signals From A Planet On The Eve Of Destruction’ (a fuzzy, violent, assault on the ears – all throbbing keyboads, wah guitar and all manner of sonic mischief) you’ll be hard pressed not to play the whole thing again whilst miming windmills in front of the mirror!
The album is produced in such a way that it sounds almost like it wasn’t produced at all which should come as no surprise given the band is made up of veterans of the 80s indie-pop and 90s lo-fi scenes with ex members of The Groove Farm / Beatnik Filmstars ( Andrew Arthur Jarrett ) The Rosehips / The Flatmates ( ‘Rocker’ ) and latest recruit ‘Markie’ Wainwright (known amongst Sheffield’s indie fraternity from his various indiepop and garage punk acts in the steel city). Quite how he ended up playing with his old C86 era heroes down in Bristol I’ve no idea but it’s proven to be a shrewd move.
As with their first two albums the overall experience is an exhilarating ride through the sounds of the past but played with such conviction and force that you’re left wondering if any contemporary band can even get close to this level of excitement. Their raw approach simply makes them sound more vital and alive in contrast to these days of computer recorded perfectionism.
Their albums provide the perfect antidote to these depressing times simply by being exciting, reckless and outright FUN! and this one could well be their best yet.
When I left that gig last year I bought some items from the merch table. Amongst them was a badge which stated “I’ve had my mind blown by The Total Rejection”…it was certainly true on that night and now, after listening to this third instalment, they’ve only gone and done it again!.