Thee Alcoholics Feedback album review

Thee Alcoholics – Feedback (Rocket Recordings) album review

London’s Thee Alcoholics turn in their noisiest, most punishing album yet on their first outing on Rocket Recordings.

There’s more to psychedelic music than weed and acid. There’s the soft-around-the-edges paranoia of sleep deprivation. There’s the apocalyptic flameout of speed psychosis. There’s even the noxious, sickly psychosis of unclean air. On Feedback, Thee Alcoholics mix brown acid, black mold and Delirium Tremens and mainline it into your ophthalmic artery.

The liner notes for Feedback describe Thee Alcoholics thus:

 Where riffage, rancour and revelation do battle, a bleary-eyed treatise from the edge of sanity with a life-affirming afterglow.
Feedback is where all the malice, indignation and inspiration of the decade so far coalesced into a brain-frying salvo of ornery catharsis. Cranky and cantankerous yet lysergically aligned, Feedback is mesmeric rock with swagger, warped into sci-fi shapes by the spirit and sonics of bass and soundsystem culture.

“Life-affirming”, “bleary-eyed”, “warped” and “sci-fi” are the operational words, here. There is something unsettling, unsettled about Thee Alcoholics beastly blend of punk, metal and noise. There is also something joyful in the mind-erasing tumult of industrial beats and howling noise, like on album opener “What’s The Crack (What’s The Story?),” like the sheer adrenalized exultation of a 10-pound sledgehammer going through drywall. It’s an album highlight that sets the bar high for the remainder of the album.

Lead single “Baby I’m Your Man” showcases Thee Alcoholic’s streamline side, with crisp motorik beats breaking out into dirty squalls of noise guitar.

That polished, pristine moment of peace and respite doesn’t last long, though. The next two tracks, “Sweetheart” and “It’s So Easy” resumes the rusted cyborg death march of the opener and cranks up the intensity. “It’s So Easy,” in particular, is Velvet Underground two-chord drone rock by way of Oneida, Nine Inch Nails, Lightning Bolt and Tuesday night pub rock – with just a hint of shortwave radio.

Things slow down but don’t necessarily mellow out on its follow-up, “Pity Me.”

That doesn’t last long either, as “Feedback” ratchets up the speed and intensity even further, with its jackhammer beats and garbled, interdimensional vocals.

Rocket Recordings invoke rock ‘n roll at its most primal when describing Thee Alcoholics, speaking of ” the howl of the ampstack, the thump of stick on skin, the clink of pint-glass.” Based solely on that sentence, you might think Thee Alcoholics were just another Garage Rock Revival. Perhaps they’re being too modest, or they’ve simply been in the proximity of the unhallowed noise they conjure for too long, but this greatly understates the pure alienness of so many bands on their roster. While not entirely re-inventing the forge, bands like Thee Alcoholics or the essential Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs are crafting a truly new sound. 25 years into the new millennium, we’re finally getting past retro revisionist copies of copies of copies. Long live Rocket Recordings! Long may they reign.

Thee Alcoholics


IG: @TheeAlcholics

Rocket Recordings


IG: @RocketRecordings

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