Released on 13th July, after recording at Aandmade Studios in Bournemouth with Mixing and Mastering from Dan Evans, chequered quartet aAnd? returned just short of 4 years after the release of their debut “aAlbum?” and with a re-recording of “I Am A Mighty Pirate… Prepare To Die!” in the mix. So how have the band fared in the time they’ve been away? Shows with Core of iO, Psychostick and Green Jelly have certainly improved a glowing reputation…
Cockerel clucking? Blast beats? Breakdowns from the very first second? Throat shredding vocals? “Cattle Defenestration!” is a 70 second blast through of a track that borders on Grindcore while letting out all the pent up aggression that it can unleash. As openers go, it’s that punch in the face, the wake up call shock of a bucket of ice cold water being thrown on your partially asleep, partially hungover form. After all, it is a song about Cattle being thrown from a window. “Bear Hugs!” then slows things down with an almost barbershop quartet styled opening followed by a more groove metal orientated sound with sludge overtones. Tempo changes a plenty, with schizophrenic vocals and lyrics. But then comes the fun element, it’s a song about bears and hugging, so when the almost downtempo breakdown closing is broken up by a fart you can’t help but laugh! “sSimple sSimon!” changes the angle of the attack with a stomp-y riff that delivers just shy of that bounce effect and a barked lyric to match. It’s a song about Simple Simon and wanting all your money.
“Baghdad Brodown!” continues the sludge sound with tasty down tuned riffage that is broken up by some clinical tempo changes within the feedback buzz, while being topped and tailed by the lapping of the ocean upon the shore. “wWomble!” is 15 seconds of madness that has to go down in history as one of the most hilariously funny Metal tracks that ever lived. The theme from The Wombles is definitely in there somewhere but so a blisteringly heavy verse. You my find yourself playing it over and over several times to make sure you get it! That topping and tailing acts as a palette cleanser so that the slow one-two punch of riffage that opens up “I Am A Mighty Pirate… Prepare To Die! (2018)” to have a bigger impact… and then you get the Baa of a Sheep which stops the headbanging for a second and brings that instant smile – who else would have a Baa on a track?! But it’s the closing guttural roars between down tempo breakdowns which bring new vocal tones and a powerhouse display. The call “lets go again” closes out the EP lyrically – before the sound of a Dolphin and a Woof end it in some style. aAnd? are a classy band. More please! [9/10]
1. Cattle Defenestration!
2. Bear Hugs!
3. sSimple sSimon!
4. Baghdad Brodown!
6. I Am A Mighty Pirate… Prepare To Die! (2018)
“wWoof?” by aAnd? is out now and available over at bandcamp.