Having contributed far and wide since the 1980s for many bands and musical gatherings such as Thee Quasi, The Donner Party and Heatmiser, Samuel J. Coomes now installs his own debut solo album in 2016. Titled Bugger me, Coomes delivers with it a quenching probe into the lofty and murky world of open indie music perplexity. His record is a nuanced approach to no gimmicks rock and roll, absorbing all the esoteric intricacies along the way.
Tough Times in Plastic Land Everybody Loves a War is a painted picture of raw debauchery and distant mistakes. It honours a genuine rock and roll aesthetic as much as it does a jokey lyric filled punk electronic fumbling. The echoes and stabbed 808 drum smacks lend a trusting hand to Coomes’ confident echoed mini stories. “Another day, another flood, you try and draw a line in the mud, but you know it ain’t worth your while. You can’t argue with a crocodile” he explains. It’s a fun groove and feeding momentum that dips into mysterious misery and carefree expression. Fordana lays down before it a raw, slow tempo hymn-like equity. It exposes into a hard rock organ telling with blunt drum machine pulses. Corpse Rider sticks to a similar vein, ditching the vocals and instead exploring the use of ticking drum samples, mystery and swamp-like hauntedness – acting almost like a musical score for a Scooby Doo episode. The Tucchus, part 1 and 2 – cling to a demonic, spirit momentum – resting on computer vocoder snippets as eery voices capitulate through anatomical and neurological descriptions.
The record is mostly a collective of experimental sounds harmonising with raw aspects and true creativity. It’s strangely methodical and peculiar in sound but rewarding in its own right. Maintaining a robust weight of sliding rhythm and dark ambiguity, it succeeds in hooking the listener with thoughtful arrangements. Crusin’ Thru Just Like the Rest starts off with frequent organ stabs and serenading vocals before the breakdown of uptempo drums and a give way to a spooky ambience. A distorted sound difficult to distinguish from a synth or guitar drowns the song’s centre. The record’s most deciding prize comes in the form of its title track; Bugger Me. A familiar drum pattern conveys across a stepping bassline, further exploring into a funky, rock installation. Ugly screeches are drawn together with synth rolls and noises as they transcend over the top of distortion underpinnings. This eases periodically to make room for Coomes’ space echoed vocals. “What kind of bait do you use to catch your breath? Why did the chicken cross the valley of death?” he ponders.
Bugger Me is a quick shameless peek into the illustrations of Sam Coomes’ musical mind. He has relished a record by cohesively shaping intrinsic values of death, ceremony and spooky thought in just under 42 minutes. It’s a quirky, peculiar and mid-paced push against conformity and common expectation. Look out for a composed, arranged string of rhythmically controlled chaos of ferocious and hidden haunting beauty.