CHIHUAHUA: Violent Architecture – album review
CHIHUAHUA: Violent Architecture (no label)
Manchester, England. Socio-political group Art-Noise. Not to be dismissed as Post-IDLES, the newcomers influenced by Sonic Youth, there is something really great about this band says Ged Babey, something special. JG Ballard is dancing in his grave.
Violent Architecture is one of the most interesting and intense first albums released this year. It comes to a point where the purveyors of taste are once again defending “difficult” music. Foreigners have a way to get into the mainstream.
It’s a post-IDLES thing, Fontaines DC I guess, Squid, black midi, Black Country New Road, Dry Cleaning get rave coverage but don’t convince me personally… but CHIHUAHUA does, after listening to their album.
The sheer intensity of it. Strangeness and precision. The fact that there are hints of “other music” yet an innate originality.
The fact that the clock changes reminded me of the John Zorns Naked City project (jazz meets hardcore-punk to make a soundtrack similar to Tom & Jerry’s chase / fight / hide sequences) but sometimes sounds more as a Radiohead / Napalm Death collaboration.
Fans of the ‘noise’ genre will no doubt laugh and point out other similarities and influences, but this is not a genre of music that I delve deep into.
JG Ballard has been a cool and trendy benchmark in post-punk music since the day Joy Div called a song “The Atrocity Exhibition” – but JG would dig the video and the feelings into Towering Narcissus.
I don’t know if I can even explain why I love this album so much. Maybe it’s because it’s not my usual kind of listening… Maybe it’s because it sounds so edgy but yet articulate…
(Maybe because I haven’t seen a live band for 15 months …)
But maybe that’s because they’re as intense as a rock band can get without spontaneously blazing up – and at the same time – there’s something new, clever, and indefinable. in what they do … in the imaginary parameters set by Radiohead, Napalm Death, IDLES and Sonic Youth in my limited imagination.
(Other commentators have mentioned Swans and GNOD…)
The first, second, even third listen, I didn’t quite get the lyrics. But once I read them (on the links on the bandcamp page), they take the songs to a whole new level.
Ignoring the title of Dungeons and Dragons of Drawbridge, and the basic anarcho-punk element of the nuclear threat, there’s a lot of relevant social commentary and anti-power sentiment in place.
White liberals will always be fine
Your privilege will always be blind
This jingo fever
makes us sing
Worship the destruction of the community
Idolize recreation icons
Their faces stare at me, eyes dead with joy
Their spikes rise from the ground
You must read the entire Nail tent stakes to my forehead to understand the gist of it.
Crutch it’s 33 seconds of pure fucking to the metropolitan elite of London art schools.
God’s favorite sports car is an attack on evangelical religion and musically the group’s most focused and impressive encapsulation as a musical force to be reckoned with.
In a way, Violent Architecture could be seen as a substitute for the IDLES album that some people (like me) wanted Ultra Mono to be. A more serious proposal, violently intense, non-commercial – but which hits the mark. But it is to take away from CHIHUAHUA the feat that for a first album, it is really a remarkable and complete work of art-punk, of politico-noise mischief which is difficult to beat.
Listen / buy on Bandcamp
Tree of links
All the words of Ged Babey