THE ILLNESS are a collective of musicians who have been seeping towards our consciousness for a while.
The band is drawn from musicians from the stable of York’s Sea Music label. Based at various location along that English longitudinal arc, down the years they have played with psych-pop cultist Kelley Stoltz, among many others.
We reviewed the side they cut transatlantically with Pavement’s Steve West, “Descending”, in these pages last week – and a very fine cut it is too: a careworn slice of alt.guitar aceness.
The 12” of “Descending” is out today, and to celebrate The Illness coming among us under their own name, Sea Music has trailed a video put together for the flip of the 12”, the idiosyncratic brilliance of “Phrases Redacted”: this time featuring the free-associating vocal talents of Silver Jews’ Bob Nastanovich.
The music, recorded in a former maternity home in the label’s home city, chunters forward on a US lofi motorik, muted guitars and feedback: think I Am Kurious, Oranj-era The Fall, had they grown up in Des Moines.
And Bob’s redacted phrases come across as a just barely reified internal dialogue, fractured narrative, internal philosophical and immediate circumstantial ones brewed up together across six minutes of guitar propulsion: “Open the window, cos uh … Guys, we’re not turning on the interior lights bro, sorry”. If you’ve ever heard the opening moments of Dexy’s man Kevin Rowland’s brave and wonderful folly, My Beauty, you’ll get the drift.
It’s weird and it’s v.v. cool.
The band said: “2020 seemed as good a time as any to finally commit to a release; then came a worldwide pandemic, creating a perfect storm!”.
An LP is in the pipeline; bet your bottom dollar twill be filled with US alt.rock nutrition reflected through a Yorkshire lens.
The Illness’s Descending/Phrases Redacted 12” is out now. Order yours at https://theillness1.bandcamp.com/