Milan’s fast-rising noise-punks The Gluts are back with their ferocious third LP Dengue Fever Hypnotic Trip released recently on London’s Fuzz Club Records and produced bu Bob de Wit (Gnod, A Place To Bury Strangers) the album is their most challenging but determined work yet. Inspired by bassist Claudia Cesana’s recent encounter with both dengue fever and malaria simultaneously, it’s perhaps no surprise that the album is an intense, claustrophobic listen.
Though the title talks of hypnotic trips, there’s no kaleidoscopic motifs to be found here, instead just a piercing noise-rock fever dream in which you’re losing control. “Everything started a year ago when Claudia got two tropical diseases at the same time. She was just back from Africa and we got a message on our group-chat telling us she was at the hospital with a strange fever, it was pretty scary. We wrote the first ideas while she was in a bed under a mosquito net. We wanted to do something to distract her from negative thoughts.” The band explain that the nature of the album’s origins was then borne out in the music itself: “Dengue Fever Hypnotic Trip is a trip. Dengue fever, together with malaria, is what Claudia actually experienced. It’s like a fuzz that punches you square in your face in an overloaded hypnotic way, and we wanted to show that in the music.”
Opening the seven-track onslaught is the first single to come from the album ‘E. The Real Punk Rocker’ which opens with a distorted, live take on their now infamous offering ‘That’s Me’ from second LP Estasi, before the chaos on the video is met by that of the noise. The powerful combinations of fuzzed out guitars with motorik beats that follows combines madness with precision in a way that they have become masters of. Next is ‘True Rose’, a noisy scorcher that has a groove so hypnotic that it hooks into your nervous system and won’t let go. The barked vocals of frontman Nicolò J. Campana only add to the intensity that builds with each repetition of the guitar melody that’s so contagious. It seems quite apt that they write tracks like this on an album about contagious maladies. ‘Swamp’ has a rolling motorik beat that like the rest of the track is cloaked in reverb allowing it to appear mellow, especially when Claudia’s ethereal vocals come into play – don’t let it fool you, its kick is there and its no less intrusive. ‘Leviathan’ starts out innocently enough, almost harmless, apart from the vocal drawl which exudes attitude. But that false sense of security doesn’t last for long, the churning riff building toward a tinnitus-inducing crescendo.
Next comes the eleven minute ‘Dalal’s Song’ which offers up a blend of shoegaze meets post punk in a way that ventures to dreamscapes not previously experienced when partaking in The Gluts. It channels Eastern influences which are mixed seamlessly with their more characteristic sounds. It’s something a little different and shows a softer side to the band, at least temporarily, and that they can produce something other than raw noise (not that that’s a bad thing we hasten to add). ‘De Witte Jager’ features a monosyllabic monologue over layered electronic static and a haunting joint guitar interplay before ‘J. Will Fuck You Now’ closes things off with undulating guitars in a way that will leave your ears ringing long after they’ve gone.
Simply put, The Gluts aren’t for the faint hearted. Dengue Fever Hypnotic Trip is as raw and visceral as it gets and there aren’t many who could stomach this kind of intensity from the offset. The question is, can you..?