Epitaph Records (label)
17 June 2019 (released)
17 June 2019
Viral diseases have new demigods, they go by the name Plague Vendor. Be wary. They exude menace. They possess tension. They have you in their crosshairs. Stand still. You’re next.
‘By Night’ (produced by John Congleton) is the follow up to 2014’s ‘Free to Eat’ EP and 2016’s album BLOODSWEAT. The wait has been well worth it.
This is a smorgasbord laden with back to basics a/effective rock and roll with hints of gothic glamour (‘Let Me Get High\Low’), glints of post-punk noir (‘New Comedown’) and tints of psychedelic technicolour screamcoats (‘Night Sweats’).
Full-throttling opener ‘New Comedown’ throws the gauntlet down. Metronomic beats bedazzle as riffs frazzle the senses. The glam-dram pulse of ‘Nothing's Wrong’ reminds of the throbbing spine from Primal Scream’s ball-bottling motorik number ‘Bomb the Pentagon’ from 2001 (later released under the CIA friendly title ‘Rise’). As the hypnotic sounds scale and fall front man Brandon Blaine is resigned to the (anti)body’s clock: ‘my body’s numb but that’s ok, I wouldn’t have it any other way’: detachment from reality the one true path to enlightenment.
‘All of the above’ is a giddying schlock to the system, all dissonance as Blaine struggles to make sense of what’s going on. Love moves in mysterious ways/delirious haze. Nocturnal perspiration oozes through the Black Rebel Motorcycle Clubesque ‘Night Sweats’, as the darkness envelops the soul, the sheets enwrap the body in a severe bout of ominous luminosity.
‘Snakeskin Boots’ evokes Jon Spencer’s explosive blues call and response riots. Blaine screeches the anguish of the bedeviled ‘where the walls are shaking and my mind’s a-quaking’ and beseeches the languish of the unraveled. A dusky deterioration ensues.
All clocking in at approx. 3 minutes this is grade A, 24 carat rock and gold. Plague Vendor thrust another ten tight, thumping ear-crashers, brain bashers that will render you dazed and bemused, crazed and amused, but, not fazed or confused.
The night’s pursuits begin (and end) with this album.