by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)
There’s little in this world that can prepare you for Thank, one of the UK’s great saviors of noise rock in its most deranged and brilliant form. While there are those that would turn the genre into radio-friendly butt rock, the Leeds based quintet keep it dangerous and fractured, experimenting with genre by adding in earth shaking electronics and experimental post-hardcore dexterity. The band’s dance-punk focus is as filthy as it gets, but everything is structured and well-shaped. Thank aren’t pandering to the press elite and they aren’t spewing out a heap of random chaos, the song’s on their sophomore EP, Please, are exceptionally crafted, memorable, and pointed with the type of sarcasm sharp enough to cut through concrete. Due out this Friday, October 11th via Buzzhowl Records and EXAG’ Records, the band prove once again to be one of the most exciting new acts making music at the turn of the decade.
From the unnerving vacuum filtered carnage of “Commemorative Coin” and it’s cynical anti-religious anthem, Thank set the tone of big hypnotic grooves, bigger noise, and plenty of hilarious scorn (think Mclusky meets Blacklisters only without guitars). Explosive and bitingly sardonic, vocalist Freddy Vinehill-Cliffe’s (also of Post-Trash favorites Beige Palace) lyrics manage to often steal the show on a record where there’s never a dull moment and every piercing note and throbbing rhythm is maximized for abrasive bliss. “No Respect For The Arts” is a stand-out, a tongue-in-cheek screed that begins “punk music is bad and the people that like it are idiots” like a mantra of disdain for their particular gifts, claiming “he’s got no respect for the arts, and I hate you for that.” The song peels away at a nervous rhythm, layered and nuanced, and shoves a blaring high-pitched tonal assault on top together with a cavalcade of acerbic guitars to match. With the flood of sound crashing like a monsoon, everything is able to finds its own place in the eye of the storm, and Thank miraculously never sound muddy.
“Two Hour Lunch” and it’s convulsive manipulated video game groove and menacing bass line keep the fury burning to the end as they remind us with the utmost sardonic sincerity “you’ve got to spend money to make money, buddy.” It’s 2019 and we couldn’t care less what about the so called best records of the decade, all we know is everyone should be listening to more Thank. Check out a premiere of the EP below followed by a track-by-track feature from Vinehill-Cliffe.
Thanks’ Freddy Vinehill-Cliffe shares some hilarious insight into the songs:
When I was at uni, there was a local church which seemed to be especially fundamentalist, especially scornful in its views on gay marriage, sex outside marriage etc, and also especially enthusiastic in its efforts to attract the student population. A handful of people I knew got sucked in, in a delirious “born again” kind of way - I think they had been religious before but not so fanatical. Those people all got married almost as soon as they graduated, and it seemed obvious that for most of them it wasn’t an act of commitment, it was just horny 21-year-olds being duped into a lifestyle they didn’t really want.
So this is a song about how God hates sex before marriage, but after marriage He loves it, I mean He really gets into it, can’t get enough of it. It’s also about imagining oneself as a god, a handsome, chiseled, muscular god. And having such good sex that “they” (who?) produce a commemorative coin for the occasion, like you’re Lady Di or something. This was the first thing we wrote after we recorded the ‘Sexghost Hellscape’ tape, and it was the first time we’d ever written anything without guitars in, which felt quite revelatory.
The first musical thing Lewis and I ever recorded together was a cover of ‘Monkey Gone To Heaven’ by the Pixies back in 2011. When the guitar solo happens in that song, Frank Black shouts “Rock with me, Joe!” and I changed it to “Rock with me, Lewis!”. It doesn’t really roll off the tongue, but I wanted to add that in before the solo in this song. Someone mooted it. I think the synth loop sounds a lot like the part which starts around 2:48 in ‘Gold Digger’ by Kanye West, but no-one ever seems to agree with me when I say that.
A lot of artists and musicians are depressed, or similarly struggling, and I think people like to romanticize that, imagining all the best art is fueled by misery and suffering. It’s similar to when people imagine that political turmoil will necessarily lead to good or “important” music. Sometimes I suppose that can be quite a comforting idea, like “Man I feel like shit, but think of all the songs I’ll write off the back of this!” but in reality I’m much more creative when I’m happy, and I think most people would say the same. The first verse of this song imagines a sort of daft hyper-reality where I’m kidnapped and then, as I’m being held hostage, the kidnapper rants to me about how it’s all okay because every setback or struggle I’ve had in life has led to more music. I should be thankful that I’m tied to this chair, because it’s gonna help me write my next big hit!
No Respect For The Arts
I think this is the only time we haven’t hammered a song into shape at a bunch of gigs before recording it. We played this live once, sort of half-finished, and some of the arrangement wasn’t really figured out until we got into the studio. That was cool because I think it stopped us from second guessing ourselves and chickening out of the weird bits. I can’t imagine the sparse middle section going down particularly well in front of a hostile or unfamiliar crowd, but at least now if that happens we can think to ourselves “Well, that’s just how the song goes” rather than losing faith and rewriting anything.
I’m not sure if this is apparent to an outsider, but to me it’s really obvious from the middle section that we’d been listening to loads of Scott Walker, particularly The Drift and Bish Bosch. This one was written around the same time we played a few gigs with our friends Blóm from Newcastle, and we definitely drove them insane by playing ‘SDSS1416+13B (Zercon, A Flagpole Sitter)’ in the van. Sorry folks.
Two Hour Lunch
This song is about therapy and the two-hour lunch breaks I’ve taken in order to get to/from therapy sessions (thank you, flexitime). It’s about loyalty and betrayal and happiness and the death of someone close to me. This song has been the “big finish” in most of our live sets for quite a while now. If we had the budget I would like several confetti cannons to go off around 3:33, and maybe some flames and strobes, so if anyone would like to give us money in order to make that happen, please get in touch. I would probably do a scissor kick at the same time, if that helps at all.
‘No Respect For The Arts’ segues into this one, which isn’t all that exciting really, but it feels very clever because I don’t think any band I’ve been in has ever recorded or released anything with a segue before. Dreams really can come true. My dad has been to see us a few times, and he hates transitions between songs because he says it means he doesn’t know when to clap. An old band of mine had a lot of songs which ended very abruptly, and he didn’t like that either, for the same reason. Generally, my dad seems to be extremely preoccupied with exactly when he needs to applaud.