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Wick Effect - Quit

  by John Clarkson

published: 13 / 2 / 2003

Wick Effect - Quit
Label: Captive Ring
Format: CD


Abrasive and experimental jazz-punk on debut album from New York trio the Wick Effect, which features Mike Griffin and Michael Hoffman who are also members of the Wobblies

The New York punk group, the Wobblies, has been a regular attraction on theEast Coast independent music scene since 1996. The band , a trio, which features in its line-up Mike Griffin on vocals ; Michael Hoffman on drums, and Russ Aldertone on bass, has now self-released two albums, 1998's 'I Have Some Language' and this year's 'Padron', and has another as-yet-untitled double album pencilled in for release for next year. As well as playing in the Wobblies, Griffin and Hoffman have also spent the last three years moonlighting in a side project , the Wick Effect. The Wick Effect, another trio, recorded it debut album, 'Quit' over three sessions last year, which now, at last mastered, has just been released in a limited edition of 500 copies on the band's own Captive Ring Records. While the Wobblies, like their mentors Husker Du, the Minutemen and Mission in Burma, have an aggressive, but clipped sound, the Wick Effect, although no less confrontational, are more experimental in tone. There is no bassist, but with Griffin and Hoffman being joined by Brett Ackerman, the frontman with local stoner project, Black Spring, two guitarists and vocalists instead . With a strong emphasis being put on instrumentals and improvisation, 'Quit' finds the Wick Effect looking back further in time for its influences, and sharing an affinity with MC5 and the Stooges. At 62 minutes in length, it may, with its sudden lurches from quiet to noise, its jazz-punk meanderings and its squalls of feedback, prove to be hard going initially for unattuned listeners. It is an album though of many merits and one that is worth sticking with. There is a strong sense of underlying melody to even the most dissonant of tracks. Hoffman's powerhouse drumming is never anything less than enthralling, and Griffin and Ackerman's guitarwork is acrobatic and dynamic. The pair's contrasting vocal deliveries, Ackerman's naive, soft falsetto, and Griffin's abrasive, gutteral roar, also add to the general excitement. Griffin's taut lyrics are similarly demanding, but rewarding. Several of the songs on 'Quit' ('Aerosol', 'Stay Like This' and 'Space the Place') are about alienation and mental illness. 'Air Assault' tells of an exhausted, numbed bombing crew forced to fly another thankless mission ("What we destroy we do with no joy after all bombardment's just a shot in the back fly in a line repeat countless times"). The album's most surreal moment though comes with 'Decomposure', which is written from the unique perspective of a decaying, buried body. "I live in a body that doesn't function quite right" sings Griffin with bleak humour. The Wick Effect, like the Wobblies, are by no means an easy option. In an age in which punk has long since become humdrum and predictable, and in many cases simply a racket, both bands are daringly and defiantly doing something out of the ordinary and different. They both, as a result, deserve a far wider audience.

Track Listing:-
1 Aerosol
2 No Come Down
3 Diamond-Headed
4 The Glare
5 The Getaway
6 Theme
7 Stay Like This
8 Air Assault
9 Roll On
10 Space the Place
11 Decomposure
12 My Shadow in Vain
13 Dover Sole
14 Arroyo

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