Freak Genes – Qwak Qwak LP (Drunken Sailor Records, 2018)

As far as I can tell, Freak Genes are a duo from Manchester; a collaboration between Charlie Murphy and Andrew Anderson. The two have played guitar in a bunch of bands like Red Cords, Hipshakes, Holiday Ghost and Proto Idiot, but are (in their own words) “now trying something a bit different. Freak Genes is all the silly ideas that would normally be ignored, the stuff that’s so simple it seems stupid. Using instruments they can’t really play, and recording equipment they don’t truly understand…”. Very mysterious. Much like the utterly charming artwork!

The Qwak Qwak LP is their second, following on from Playtime, which was released in January 2017 through Alien Snatch. Make no mistake, this record is very pleasingly a bit odd, and looking at the description above whilst listening to it, it clearly makes sense. These tunes, guitar ditties, scribbles and sketches or whatever you want to call them are endearing; disarmingly so, in fact. This is silly, fun stuff, and yet it by no means crosses the goof rubicon (shitty joke bands take note!). I strongly advise everyone to stop what they are doing. Take a break from your insignificant little lives immediately and hit play on the player below:

There seems to be a whole raft of influences at play here from your typical garage type bands to Devo style hectic new wave / post punk lunacy to The Buzzcocks to 60s pop forced through a Ramones meat grinder (kind of like the Beach Boys / Mannfred Mann side of The Queers, I suppose). From this weird melting pot, two blokes with guitars, a drum machine and a synth at their disposal have crafted a collection of 17 hits that I could only describe as Sleaford Mods bashing out Coneheads covers after a wild night devouring the blood and viscera of Bis, whilst playing Roxy Music and Human League records backwards.

I’m completely and utterly captivated by this, and I’m 100% unapologetic. On paper it might sound absurd or even inadvisable, but in practice, this stuff just blows my mind. This is a contender for those end of year lists, mate, and it’s come in from the left field. No way I could have predicted this.
This gets Tony of Nurgle rating of 10/10, it’s too good.

This is available on orange or black vinyl from Juice at Drunken Sailor Records (both versions as usual come with a digital download).

Tony of Nurgle is a true child of the North, currently living in exile in Croydon, South East London. He used to co-run a specialist record store in Manchester (Roadkill Records), and also spent a couple of years as a promoter, and put on shows for the likes of Leatherface, the Loved Ones, Lucero, Minus The Bear, These Arms Are Snakes, Spy vs Spy, Latterman etc. He also spent several years DJing at shady rock clubs in Manchester, and started the infamous Thursday night "punk room" at Jilly's Rockworld. Also responsible for Middle Finger Response, and collaborated with a couple of friends on a monthly night called Refuse to Lose, which will still occasionally reunite the original DJ line-up - hopefully in the not too distant future. Apart from that, it's all bitterness and a jaundiced view of human nature, rarely skateboarding, often reading books with maps in the front.

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