We hear about some weird and wacky stuff from bands sometimes, but when it comes to random musical influences they don’t come much wackier than those of awesome new rock power trio Space Church.
Fresh from supporting IDLES in Guildford earlier this month, we spoke to the band – Phil, Pat and Dan – that describes itself as “Dadrock from the future.” And we learnt that they like to write tracks based on subjects as diverse as what Cuba Gooding Jr gets up to in his spare time to what the Victorians got up to in the bedroom.
Phil told us: “It’s more interesting to draw your influences from outside a convention. I would think something like ‘how would Edith Wharton write a noise rock song?’ – this would spark an interesting or unexpected approach.
“Subject-wise it gets pretty scatter-logical, it jumps around from song to song. We could write about anything; Cuba Gooding Jr’s social engagements, a Japanese actress killed in a Tsunami, the banjo and Victorian sexual politics. Really, anything! As for a theme that pulls all the songs together, I would say that these are strange and dangerous times we are living in, all the songs are about that.”
This does give you some insight into the minds that have created the Space Church sound. It’s experimental and random, it’s interesting and diverse, and it’s intriguingly brilliant, so expect big riffs, extreme dynamics and raw vocals that leap between spoken and screamed – kind of like an extended version of Nirvana’s Gallons of Rubbing Alcohol Flow Through The Strip.
Space Church last year released their debut album Songs To Punch Nerds To, which has to go down as one of the finest album names you will ever hear. Did we mention they’re pretty random? Off the back of this they supported IDLES in Guildford earlier this month.
Songs To Punch Nerds To kicks off with the energetic Chlorine, which opens up with a bass intro, random guitar noises, plenty of cymbal, then almost spoken vocals describing the chemical element that is chlorine for two verses. The guitar finally kicks in after nearly two minutes with some palm-muted chords that gradually build into a big rock-out underneath some frantic vocals and the track ends with “We’re all great, we’re all great, we’re all fucking great.”
Space Church love a long song, and second track Ships is one of them at some six-and-a-half minutes. It starts off with a light repeated guitar riff and spoken vocals that continue for fully two minutes, with bursts of cymbals and bass thrown in at random, then big bursts of the same riff kick in alongside bigger vocals. A big rock-out follows with huge cymbals and drum rolls, random riffs and guitar noise before dying down again for a while, followed by another rock-out, this time with bigger, almost screamed vocals.
Snowballs is much more punky in feel with staccatoed guitar chords through the intro up to, and beyond, the opening lyric: “Well it sucks that I had to die to meet you.” The spoken lyrics and chords continue pretty much throughout, until random Indian-style music comes in and fades out.
At 8 minutes 12 seconds, Working In The Glue Factory is only the second longest track on the album, but is probably my favourite. Drums open up, and are soon joined by a very Nirvana sounding winding guitar riff that meanders into a funky mini-solo. The vocals are gruff and raw, further conjuring the Nirvana image, followed by a higher pitched guitar solo, then a return to the original riff. The track drops out again for spoken vocals, which are concluded with a cry of “So I took that job in the glue factory.. Making glue!” which launches into more guitar goodness. The instruments drop out for a bit of spoken word, then the bass pops back in alongside the vocals “It’s at this point that the song changed track, I want your imagination, if you could, to leave 1930s depression America and come with me on a journey.” As the vocals continue wild guitar noises howl over repeats of “Miami 1980” and lead into big drawn out guitar chords and the pace picks up – then launches into a big rock-out and a high-pitched guitar solo. It comes to an end with big cries of “Miami.”
The prize for longest track on the album goes to penultimate song Jodan, which begins with a big heavy bassline that is soon joined by huge smashes of cymbals and repeated guitar riffs that threaten to burst into life for ages, and eventually do with a protracted high-pitched blast of guitar. It goes quiet for a while, before more spoken vocals then the big rock-out that has been promised for some eight minutes is finally delivered.
Final track The Banjo Song is similar, slowly building before a big smash of rock noise mid-way through, then dropping right down again. It ends, probably aptly, with wild vocals and bursts of guitar alongside big cymbal smashes.
Space Church are unlike anything we’ve heard in a while, but their own words perhaps sum up what you should expect from them: “The blueprint was pretty much let’s get together and plagiarise as many American post-hardcore bands as possible.” Sounds like a pretty good ethos to me.
Space Church have plans for a new album this year, and hope to play as many gigs as possible. They’re playing The Star Inn in Guildford tomorrow night (30 March), and they’ll be back there on May 14th. We think they’ll be pretty awesome live – given that Pat describes their live show as: “People can expect to have their expectations simultaneously violated and ignored” – so go and check them out if you can.
In Phil’s words: “We are looking for dates at the moment. I would love to play a few more shows in places like record and book shops. I love the floor level shows when you are practically in the audience and out of the usual context. Anyone that is putting on a show is welcome to reach out to us. We seriously consider anything that sounds fun and interesting.”