'Lupus' is a big record. You won't go deaf listening to it, but you will feel as puny as a little maggot as it passes overhead, for over an hour, dropping sonic krautrock bass bombs on you.
Simplistic in style, yet overwhelming at times in its spectral audacity, the album drives unforgivingly toward the lofty heights of those weird and wonderful bands discovered in parents' record collections as youths, or left-field oddities loitering with intent in the dusty nooks of provincial record stores.
Eerie opener 'Pharmakon' is a seven minute drone poem. Growing in size as the song progresses, loops and tones snowball to create an enormous, yet surprisingly subtle wall of sound. It sets a neat precedent for the rest of the album, and you will know where you stand on this huge simian thing when you hear this track. 'Knowledge & Conversation' is an all-out slow, bass-led jam. We are talking eastern style guitars here, samples in the background, Jah Wobble low-end bass, all being guided by tidy drum patterns. Prime shagging music. Track three, 'Still' is my personal favourite. I love bands that can explore their instruments and pull off a jam without things getting dull; something that seems to be a dying art. I like to imagine this track was a single take jam; it's strongly reminiscent of Can. All it needs is indecipherable singing and some sharp breaks and it could have been pulled from the 'Tago Mago' sessions.
'Something to do with death' is a cover of Erasure's most popular song. Just kidding. The album's centrepiece, its roots are held firmly in the intrepid moodiness of GY!BE and Earth. Dead Sea Apes should try their hand at film soundtracking as this whole album feels like it could be a doom-laden kraut rock score for a British thriller in the vein of 'Get Carter'.
'Blood Knot' feels like the end of a song that you wish you had heard the rest of. Its buzzing bass and screeching guitars floating on a lake of space echo are the perfect segueway into the final, massive 'Wolf of the bees'. After ten minutes of build-up it finally takes off into the night. This really is imposing music. On the evidence of this track alone, they deserve to play on a stage with thirty huge valve amps.
I'm kinda at odds with music that’s “soundtrack-y” at the moment. I do love it, but there just seems to be so fucking much of it following the same guidelines. Lupus defies these conventions. It is a very fine record, and I certainly won't slam it into the pile of “Algebra Rock” wank that is polluting my musical sphere. Dead Sea Apes are a band that can go anywhere they want.
Posted: Tue 5 June 2012