Say Psych: Album Review: 10 000 Russos – Distress Distress

Rating: 8/10

Portuguese trio 10 000 Russos marked their place as a force to be reckoned with when they released their self-titled debut LP on Fuzz Club Records back in May 2015. The album has sold out twice over and includes such stomping tracks as ‘Karl Burns’ and ‘Usvsus’. Followed by extensive touring, they have now become household names in the psych scene.

With a Fuzz Club Live Session released on 22nd January 2017 to wet the appetite for things to come, Distress Distress has been eagerly anticipated for some time.

‘Germinal’ opens proceedings in a way that only they could get away with; fuzzy guitars, a throbbing bass line and a krautrock drum beat so catchy that this is instantly impressive and imposing. The reverberated vocal tones of João Pimenta come in early, something so far uncharacteristic for the band, marking a different intent for this record early on. As the track progresses it gives way to oscillating feedback loops, chanted lyrics and a density of sound that has become characteristic of their style.

First single ‘Tutilitarian’ offers a drone laden other worldly vibe and the guitar riff courtesy of Pedro Pestana is entrancing and the chanting towards the end of the track creates a particularly shamanistic vibe. ‘Europa Kaput’, an apt title considering the current political climate, has an undeniable groove created by the funky bass of Andre Couto and the hypnotic drumming only heightens the effect. The bizarre vocal arrangement which has become characteristic of the different approach taken by 10 000 Russos is used to great effect, creating an eerie juxtaposition against the overall upbeat track.

‘ISM’ utilises repetition, drone and feedback to the highest quality whilst maintaining a krautrock beat that Germany’s finest would be proud to call their own and the broken record-esq skipping at the end is an interesting twist. The second single from the album comes in the form of ‘Radio 1’, a sinister edge looms ever present as the tracks darkness prevails. The overall slower tempo marks it out and draws attention to the interesting elements.

‘Distress’ (named only once here, but echoed within) is the title track of the album with its extended instrumental opening, pulsating frequencies and echoed vocals, offering something a bit special to finish.

The metronomic rhythms of Distress Distress create immersive soundscapes which cannot fail to captivate. Becoming masters of drone and manipulators of sound, they transcend the boundaries of psychedelia as we know it today, channelling ritualistic vibes which are interspersed into their dark, post-punk sound.

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