Jockrock / Stuart McHugh (U.K) - 'Lo-Fire'
Following a 15-year gap between their first two releases, the third album from the Glasgow trio breenges in like opener 'Chicane' - a stop-start slice of speedcore evoking Husker Du and The Stooges. The punk-goth-grunge combo continues with the three-chord headruch of 'Fast Mata Hari'. 'Human Torch' is slower, but 'Recovery Position' provides an adrenaline booster shot. However, this fervent start can't last - 'Surf's bubblegum pop breaks the momentum, while the sinister 'Harvest' is a real buzzkill. And while 'Deep Red Hurt's 'broken tape recorder' sound may be a move into art-rock, it takes 'Bermuda love Trangle's distorted drawl to put this meandering collection back on course.
(3 and a half stars out of 5)
JOCKROCK WEBSITE (U.K.) - 'Tarantula Rising'
I'd expected this lot, for some reason, to make an awful (but good) racket like any other Scottish band whose name begins with 'P' (pH Family, Pink Kross et al). And they do. But not all the time. In fact, this is an album which lives up to it's press release - they say that it covers all musical styles, bit of trip hop thrown in, etc, the usual bollocks. But guess what, they speak the truth! The aggression is pretty much controlled, so you can hear that they have some pretty decent tunes here. And the trip-hop comes through as promised, in a clever way, a bit like Long Fin Killie did. But the comparison ends there, they're off on a nother direction after that, a bit Joy Division, a bit grungey in places, and plenty where they're simply the Poison Sisters. Oh, they say "Parental Advisory" and that's true though often the adult might be best employed to explain them, they're a bit surreal in places. Nothing wrong with that, though. I could say that they're doing it for themselves, but it's not actually that D.I.Y./lo-fi. They're too clever for that.
13th NOTE WEBSITE (U.K.) - 'Live Review'
Mmmm. The Poison Sisters. I dunno if you web-hoppers will be familiar with such an archaic bunch, but the doom rock days of the old Sisters have been slightly swept aside in favour of a more pop-tabulous style, still with some of the gloomier trappings and all of the punch, but also with more dynamics and an experimental edge. In comparison to Pacifica's more restrained performance, we get a much more confrontational one from these chaps and to my mind a more entertaining one. Although a close-run thing, I think the Sisters took home the prize but I think they had the bonuses of familiarity and closing the night on their side. They muttered something about a new CD, so maybe your local doom-pop merchant will sell you a copy. Cliche journo description: I don't understand this. How can one band be gothcore - jungle - pop -PJ-Harvey - meets - surf -in - a - blender with a liberal dash of punk swagger???
LUNA KAFE' WEBSITE (Norway) - 'Tarantula Rising'
......... but though it may sound churlish, not even album of the month. No, that honour goes to the diametrically-opposed first LP from the Poison Sisters, Tarantula Rising. The name of the band, the Parental Lyrics Advisory note, everything points to an almighty punky thrash, though of course this wouldn't be a problem. However, though the likes of Chicane indeed sound a bit like a very lively Joy Division, with more controlled vocals from the rich vocal chords of singer Sandy Black, there's much more to this album. In fact the LPs starts off, musically at least, a little like the Wedding Present with 76yrs. Many of the songs too are broadly about lost loves, but the comparison ends there, in fact the lyrics and delivery are mildly threatening, and in places surreal. It's the constant switching of styles too that makes this album stand out - Insect Floor is a trip-hop-based nightmare of a spider-ridden room, Lovebug is a spoken story of what the narrator found deep at the earth's core, and Essential Oils might be, or might not be, about a drugs run gone wrong. All this backed up by the aforementioned variety of styles - the near-metal drumming and a lot of stop-start songs, false endings, the lot. The Poison Sisters (three blokes, naturally) have a personality crisis of Rosanne Barr proportions which happily leads to fun for all the family in fact (well, your parents might not like it). [This review] Copyright © 1998 Stuart McHugh
AUTO REVERSE (U.S)-'Tarantula Rising'
I wish I could keep up with popular U.K. indie bands better because then I might have a shot at describing The Poison Sisters a little more accurately. Because what sounds to me like an innovative blend of Pantera and The Smiths (no shit) could very well be a highly derivative band that rips off whoever is this week's big deal in the N.M.E.. Just as someone in the U.K. could hear something like Limp Bizkit and think"wow, metal and rap together, how innovative" instead of the correct response of "wow, Korn Jr," if you see my point. So, I'll just have to say Pantera with Morrissey singing for now. The songs are somewhat basic, musically speaking, often starting with a chugging guitar riff. It's when the singer comes in that things get really interesting though. Sounds to me like the singer guy from Gene, with a similar lilt and mad vibrato, not to mention the lyrics, which are definitely Morrissey or Gene-esque. I do like the bit where the music stops and he whispers "fuck me. Fuck me. Fuck me" and then screams it at the top of his lungs. It's beautiful. And just when you think you can peg The Poison Sisters as a straight indie rock band, they go drum + bass on "Insect Floor". I like it. There's not much d + b down here, certainly not enough for my liking, so I'll take what I can get. The songwriting is excellent, the playing is great and the production is good. Great stuff.
THE LIST (U.K.) - 'Tarantula Rising'
This long awaited debut comes from a band who have been filling The 13th Note since Bis were running about in short trousers. Sandy Black's voice is a disturbing mix of Nick Cave, Morrissey and Noel Coward, while the music sweeps from the slow-burning opener "76 Years", to the horror tales of "Up To The Wagon", with little time for contemplation in between. Definitely one to scare your grandchildren with.
THE EVENING TIMES (U.K.) - 'Tarantula Rising'
Glasgow band THE POISON SISTERS have just released their album Tarantula Rising and it features the first ever space dust solo in the history of music. You know, the crackly sweety that fizzes on your tongue and pops your ears. So, it is experimental stuff, loud, scarey, guitary but with sneaky jazz bits. Look out for them at The 13th Note because who knows what sweeties they might use on stage - curly wurlies and hard Glasgow rock.
F+J MAIL ORDER (U,K,) - 'Tarantula Rising'
....This collection of songs veers wildly from minimalist trip-hop, thru sixties trash, then downwards into the shrieking of hell-bound souls. PARENTAL ADVISORY SPECIAL.
MAXIMUM ROCK'N'ROLL (U.S.) - 'Chicane e.p.'
This would be the perfect grungey Scottish rock band with their songs about sex (necrophelia, actually), drugs (poppin' pills) and rock'n'roll (well, they don't sing about it, but they sure do play it). The only thing that stops them is that their singer sounds like Morrissey! It's very interesting and makes them sound more enjoyable than they otherwise would be. But it just sounds, you know - wierd. Sisters of Morrissey? Not a girl band, by the way.
MELODY MAKER (U.K.) - 'Demo Tape'
The Poison Sister's tape sports the kind of fruity Romo vocal I was talking about last week, only this time it's backed by a dirty guitar. They're Scottish, which is noticeable enough without the Glasgow postmark, and have one foot firmly planted in the obscure, while the other is dipping it's toe in Bis territory. They appear to be steadfastly ensconsed in the Glasgow scene, having released a split single with fellow Scots Eska. Their demo even comes with a list of Bis merchandise. The tape itself positively resounds with the essences of Nick Cave and Morrissey (that old saucy voice again), while the musicians seem to have attended the John Peel scool of non-commercial grunge. One of the songs is called "Vagina Dentate", "dentate" meaning "edged with tooth-like proportions" (I looked it up). The idea is thoroughly explained with graphic phrases like "You're not gonna know what's hit you down below" and "By the time I'm finished with you, you'll be pissing through a straw." And it's sung by a man. Cool.
D AND FRIENDS (U.K.) - Split 7"
I was very wary of the Poison Sisters after last time. And I still am. Neither Unclean or Lo-Fi Girlfriend (lo-fi taken to the lowest low) offend as much, but they still make me twitchy.
MONITOR (U.K) - 'Live Review'
And then.......... Murder, mutilation, dirt and wagons. Well stick you're tongue in my eye if it isn't the Poison Sisters. This is the first time I've seen them live, and despite rumours that they're well tired and emotional this evening, I'm certainly impressed. Echoes of the Pixies or Nick Cave at times suggest themselves, but the vitality of the music is such that comparisons are purely of trainspotting interest. Sometimes manic, sometimes sleazy, always raw and arresting, but with a lightness of touch and a vague humour that prevents the sound sticking in its own corrosive mud. Yeah, see this band if you haven't already.