I think itâ€™s a clever name, seriously. â€œA daft pun maketh a memorable band nameâ€ or something. Ice, Sea, Dead People are three dudes from London (formerly Bedford) who see speed as something of a necessity in their music. â€˜Teeth Unionâ€™ is 24 minutes of breathless, exhausting rock music that staggers between a mess of snotty punk and abrasive post-hardcore.
Itâ€™s quite a shambles really, but in a good way. The production is noteworthy for its scrappy, dishevelled demeanour. In some ways it reminds me of the first Bronx record. The old, â€œyeah three takes lads, then fuck it if we mess up, thatâ€™s rock â€˜n roll.â€ Not that you would notice any mistakes in that record or indeed in â€˜Teeth Unionâ€™; because these then become part of the songs â€“ this is how it was meant to be played â€“ how this kind of audible chaos should sound.
â€˜Teeth Unionâ€™ opens with â€˜Iâ€™m Catâ€™; 2 and a half minutes of jerking, Les Savy Fav-style rock that judders with a swift, stabbing motion, like Patrick Bateman going knife happy on yet another unfortunate prostitute. It scrawls and writhes with that de-tuned hum of aggravation. Guitars are chewed into a splatter of broken chords, whilst the sparse vocals are centered on incoherent shouts and the noise you make when someone says something monumentally stupid. Itâ€™s like 3 punks all playing different parts of the same song, but at varying speeds.
Despite the frantic nature of â€˜Laser Brainâ€™ the vocals are distinctly hollow, opting for a monotone robotic slur that is then buried beneath a furrow of jangled static and crashing percussion. â€œI want to be in the wallpaper so I can hug the roomâ€ utters Ice, Sea, Dead People, their throwaway; almost lazyÂ remarks are blown apart by an ear shredding scream and a barrage of bass-driven noise rock.
â€œIâ€™ve got, sugar in my hair! Iâ€™ve got sugar in my hair! Iâ€™ve got sugar in my hhhhhhaaaaaiiirrrrâ€ wails the dual vocals of bassist Jamie and guitarist Craig, who I assume are attempting to make even the lyrics of The Blood Brothers sound vaguely normal on â€˜My Twin Brotherâ€™s A Brotherâ€™. Itâ€™s a track which bounces with pop-punk delight chorus-wise, which is then offset by the pounding, bass-thick heavy dirge that make up the rest of this 3-minute stomp.
â€˜Grean Teeâ€™ sounds like itâ€™s been recorded inside several biscuit tins, whilst the band tries valiantly to fight off a swarm of wasps by throwing their instruments at the little yellow and black-striped bastards. It regains a sense of intimidating urgency at the halfway mark, contorting with angular frustration and a snotty sense of arrogance.
â€˜Justin Kleinâ€™ is like The Ramones crossed with Q And Not U â€“ pent up punk rock rage, channelled through stark, yet danceable melodies, led by a sinister bass line that rumbles alongside the dual vocal shouts, commenting on Mr Kleinâ€™s make-up techniques.
Itâ€™s hard not to crack a smile during â€˜Brrrrrâ€™; a track that starts with a familiar bass grind (â€˜Ex-Nuns/Dead Dogsâ€™ by Some Girls anyone?), which is filled with the sound of the track being sped up and forced through a grinder; with all three members of Ice, Sea, Dead People valiantly trying to be heard through the squealing din of their instruments slowly coming apart. â€˜Hence: Elvisâ€™ is a familiar sound; clocking in at just over 2 minutes, itâ€™s a spluttering force of punk rock that staggers between art-rock pretension and the slovenly nature of ramshackle and decay.
â€˜Satan/Japanâ€™ is to begin with, a brief respite, taking on the form of an improvised jam, with what sounds like Justin Pearson of The Locust spitting words into a microphone. The buzz-saw of the bass around the 2 minute mark teases the listener into thinking that yet another explosion of noise will punch through, only for it to dip back into the stop-start jam session once more.
The merciless unclean squeal of the guitars, the fuzzed-out, distorted bass drone and the flamboyant drum rolls make up â€˜Until We Break Our Legsâ€™, a closer that is submerged beneath a haze of rasping noise and a cacophony of mangled notes â€“ what vocals that are present seem lost or disregarded near the finish, despite the valiant effort to make themselves heard.
Itâ€™s rare that you hear something that sounds so apathetic yet so relentlessly frenetic. ‘Teeth Union‘ by Ice, Sea, Dead People is a kind of punk see-saw, endlessly rocking between listlessness and spontaneous acerbic energy, pumped to breaking point.
For those feeling a bit talented, the band have made the video for ‘Grean Tee‘ and have asked fans to do a snazzy background/do whatever you want to it. Bonza. See their site for details on how to obtain the free download.
By Ross Macdonald