If Rob Zombie dreamt up a band to feature in his horror flicks, I am pretty sure there would be a fair amount of hypothetical reminiscence to the mischievously intellectual Manchester-based outfit, The Battery Farm, who are set to release their second boundary-breaking EP Dirty Den’s March of Suffering.
The addictively dynamic release permits you to feel pretty much every emotion on the human spectrum. Given that slipping out of ennui enough to get excited by new music isn’t exactly an easy feat when our worldviews become even bleaker with every log onto social media and flick onto the news, that speaks volumes.
Beyond the sheer sonic innovation, the genius in The Battery Farm lies in their ability to appeal to the melancholically inclined with their satirically liberating tracks that make having an IQ higher than a loaf of bread fleetingly worth it.
Their exposition on the dankness of the human condition in Dirty Den’s March of Suffering cuts just as close to the bone as The Manic Street Preachers’ The Holy Bible. The parallels with the Manics don’t end there either; notably, they carry the same scathingly sharp lyrical wit as Edwards.
After an ominously distorted Westworld-style honkytonk prelude that disquietly teases the carnage that follows, the EP volleys you into the tumultuous ride with When the Whip Goes Crack which pulls pure veracious poetry out of squalor and indignity. If you thought Ken Loach’s films were hard-hitting, prepare for the bruises imparted by this juggernaut of an alt-rock release that lends from everything from post-hardcore to grunge.
I’ve Never Been to Gorton proves that The Battery Farm can do light-hearted just as well as they can lay down inflamed perception-shifting introspection. Behind the bouncy vocals is an exhibition of the modestly virtuosic talent of guitarist, Dominic Corry. While you get cheap kicks of hearing about the landscapes that you have lamented about being around, you are left mesmerised by the guitar licks that stylistically sit between Marr and Glen Branca.
The Battery Farm may have been lazily lumped into the generic punk category for their previous releases, but they come out all experimental guns blazing with Drowning in Black. The darkly psychedelic release is easily one of the most authentically experimental soundscapes conceived in Manchester in the last two decades.
Roy Keane isn’t Real is a bruiser of a scuzzed-up attack on the stupidity and conspiracy theories that have been sending everyone under recently. If any single proves their commitment to delving deep into their Machiavellian imagination, it’s this punk-rooted track grounded in their working-class charisma.
The concluding single, We’re at the Top, ends the EP on an ethereal, jarringly stunning note. It fittingly becomes the swan song of the EP that encompasses life, death and everything between with infinitely more cerebral finesse than Good Charlotte mustered in The Chronicles of Life and Death. With a similar sonic palette to Jerry & the Peacemakers and vocal reminiscence to Mike Patton’s crooning on Mr Bungle’s California album, it arrests you into reflection while conceptually imparting the disarming assurance that our mortal coil is ephemeral. Ingeniously, We’re at the Top tempts you away from spending your days fixated on the ugliness in the world with the same ‘we’re all going to die so fucking be nice’ gravitas as In Heaven by Pixies.
In their own words, here is the concept behind the Dirty Den’s March of Suffering:
“This EP is an attempt by us to celebrate the humanity behind the moment of death. It’s a celebration of the foibles and fallibility of people, a speculation on the silly and mundane things we may get caught up in in death as we do in life – trips to Gorton never made, conspiracy theories chased forever, all kinds of irrelevant nonsense. It’s an acknowledgement too of the blitzkrieg of fear that must be the moment of death, regardless of how it comes, and the ultimate loneliness that is the destiny of all of us. Regardless of circumstance, death is the most innately lonely thing of all and as such it is innately terrifying. The EP is also a futile attempt to understand how something so gigantic can be so unknowable. None of us know what it is like to die, and just as your humble working boiz are doing here, we can all only speculate.”
The EP is due for release on October 15th, 2021; it will be available to stream and purchase on all major platforms. Physical copies are available for via their website.
Tickets for the EP launch at Gulliver’s in Manchester on October 16th are available here.
Review by Amelia Vandergast