Split LPs tend to be either massively self-indulgent, or rare slabs of collective brilliance. Luckily for me, and my lack of tolerance for shit music, Wedding Dress is the latter.
Wedding Dress features ten tracks of fractious, angsty noisy rock and roll from a transatlantic pairing of like minded noiseniks. Yorkshire outfit Fawn Spots and Oakland, CA mischief makers Cumstain make for decent bedfellows, complimenting each other whilst evidently being two very different bands.
The first four tracks are from Fawn Spots, who are a razor edged, lightning fast quartet, proudly displaying their love of early SST bands (Black Flag, Meat Puppets, Husker Du) and a very British approach to punk. This isn't a lumpen pastiche (a la the Cribs or The Libertines toward the end), this is homage, and there's never anything wrong with that.
Elements of college rock and the burgeoning mid-80s indie scene are evident too; opener 'Tailor Made' echoing The Replacements or R.E.M. (before they binned off Bill Berry and started sucking metaphorical balls). 'National Anthem' sounds like a Fugazi demo, all menancing guitar tonals and rhythmic beat, before a descent into part Minor Threat, part Bad Brains thrash.
The menacing lo-fi doom pop of Cumstain is a harder nut to crack. This is, of course, a band whose self diagnosis is "3 tons of eggs crashing into the ocean of your mind."
With only one of six tracks pushing past two and a half minutes, this a band who release short, staccato bursts of intent to an often unprepared listener.
A mutant experiment part Moldy Peaches, part Suicide, part Henry's Dress, part fuck knows what! Drum machine clatters mash against FX-heavy vocals and jarring guitars. A sound that's as unsettling as it is utterly charming, much in the same way Deerhoof take a childhood approach to music, Cumstain are like hyperactive toddlers.
The band don't just thrash around like ADHD veterans, 'Can't Take it' is a mixture of JAMC, Wall of Sound girl group ideals and laconic Californian vocal, whilst 'Rollin' Wrong' is almost country, albeit country rock that's been beaten to within an inch of its life with a speak-n-spell. A driving beat, desert boy guitars and a windswept voice, that is like Lee Hazelwood stoned and enjoying the West Coast scene, If you could imagine such a thing. Which I can.