There's something brewing in Bristol, notable as home of trip-hop pioneers Portishead, Tricky, Massive Attack and The Wurzels. And Chaos UK. Two-man purveyors of fuzz, Pohl, comprising of Will Pearce and Jamie Thompson, dismantle the city's traditional musical sounds and replace it with their own octave-shifted brand of sleepy grunge.
Title of the EP aside, there's an obvious Sleep influence on the band. The hypnotic, repetitive riffs and willingness to experiment with song structure set them apart from other bands of this ilk, in a genre that is often marred by a lack of imagination. The attitude is Queens Of The Stone Age up to about Songs for the Deaf, the Mark Lanegan tracks in particular (in musical style, rather than vocals) - the driving fuzzy riffs contrast very well with the occasional unexpected left turn that Pohl metaphorically throw at you.
Take 'Candyass'. It's great, yes, but the vocals don't start until around the two minute mark. Because 'Fuckboots', the previous track, was instrumental, you think that this is an instrumental band. And they would be a great instrumental band, but the vocals coming in so late to the second track, for about thirty seconds, just shows that the band don't really give a fuck for what your mum would call 'traditional song structure'. I like that. It's subtle, but it shows how willing the band are to mess around with the fundamentals.
'Forward the Old Joke' is one riff that plays and plays and runs and runs until it begins to deconstruct itself, resolves, then stops. It's simple but fantastic - three words that I would use to describe the 'Pohl sound'.
'Anathematician' consists of a phenomenal riff that seems to swallow up Will's entire fretboard, compelling him to play every note on the bottom two strings. This, when the verse is just one chord played over and over again, getting progressively slower (with more intermittent shouting), makes for a really interesting song that is all the better for just stopping. Again; simple but fantastic.
I've read other reviews that compare final track 'Vampire' to Big Business, but I don't know much Big Business. All I know is that it sounds pretty good to me, with cavernous vocals melding with the huge riff that just will not stop chugging, even when it seems like it's about to spin out of control. When it resolves itself, it feels almost post-coital. Pohl are pretty good, all told.
Posted: Thu 11 October 2012