Muttley – Demo (Part 4 of Backseat Mafia On Tour: York)

Gosh, York seems such a long time ago.  I picked up a clutch of music in May last year (!) while sojourning in that delightful locale and one of the pieces that I bought (in Attic Records) was Muttley’s ‘Demo’.  You can now find some of these tracks on his most recent release ‘Contrarians’, but I’m working with what I got in the city of the Minster.

Over the fifteen months since I bought ‘Demo’ its songs have occasionally popped into my ears on shuffle and I’ve always been immediately intrigued.  To begin with I would wonder who on earth I was listening to and how it had come to be on. After a while I would recognise Muttley, eventually plunging myself into the whole of this intriguing homemade press of noise and unease.

There’s something quite disarming about the tinny, basic drum machine in effect throughout.  You start off feeling sympathetic about such simple effects but slowly the metallic, urgent rhythms build up a head of tension until you’re a bag of nerves by the end. Simon Micklethwaite’s singing isn’t pretty but he also isn’t falling into my least-favourite of vocal traps – putting something on. This is his voice: quiet but going for it. The guitars are a perfect compliment to all of the above: passionate again, never less than wholly committed to the song and displaying some undeniable power and volume on, for example, ‘Toxins’ and ‘Bitter Pill’. This is the kind of sonic battery that too many are too polite or scared to let themselves loose into.  There’s no trying to tidy it up, or smooth it off; although the sound is murky and muddy you can still feel the force.  I can freely imagine having my ears bled dry by this live.

If you wanted to pop along to Muttley’s bandcamp page you can listen to, and buy, both ‘Demo’ and ‘Contrarians’. I suggest you do both with, er, both.


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