Riot Grrrl had jack-shit UK impact outside London and Glasgow, and Bis went from being a bad joke to just boringly being, and so here's the best, crassest, funniest splenetic shriek-pop of the decade, and also the best single Digital Hardcore Recordings have put out. Every album I've heard by EC8OR has had the same apparently mandatory crap-recording and dull doomstompf quota as all other DHR long-players, but taken a hit at a time they blow things up nicely.
Fast distorto-breakbeats and shouting about fascists are the DHR partyline, and if you think that grows old quick you wouldn't be wrong. EC8OR get really excited, though , when they start having a go at Spex, apparently a kind of Teutonic 'Q' magazine which seeks to mislead and pervert the German youth through a variety of garbled means (at a guess: featuring boring music, featuring boring ravers, featuring boring rock bands, not featuring EC8OR much). The music rattles along at boneshaker speed, pugnaciously defying any attempt to dance to or even keep track of it, then stops for EC8OR to yell "Spex is a faaaaaat....BITCH!" and then does exactly the same except louder and more distorted, and then does it even louder, and so on. The really amazing thing about DHR's good records is that they're so fun and vital even when you should by rights be bored sick of the schtick. EC8OR, for these four minutes, have nothing to do with post-industrial posturing or even politics, and everything to do with having a skull-scouring bloodyminded yell, and anyone who'd deny that as a part of good pop probably deserves to work for Spex.
Last time I talked to Gareth, he suggested that my tastes have narrowed over the last few years to 'just' liking pop. There's some truth in that but it's not the whole truth. For one thing my appreciation of 'pop' has widened at the same time, to take in commercial chart music from more places, more cultures (still working on the J-thing, though cis!) and also more eras - not that that makes a difference if you don't care about 'pop' at all, but it makes a difference for me listening to it. For another thing, it's not that I don't listen to other stuff, it's that I'm less bothered about celebrating my flirtations or dabblings into it. This bottom end of the Top 100 is full of such flirtations, in this case with Alec Empire's Digital Hardcore and its Drum'n'Noise sound.
As I suggest in the review, this kind of hyperaggressive punky D'n'B was generally a bit boring once you'd got past an initial nose-thumbing glee-rush. As soon as it slowed down or seemed to get serious it turned into some of the most awful music ever, wretched 'dystopian' tat by the likes of Panacea which would barely even qualify as kitsch. "Spex Is A Fat Bitch" sounds like the more fun end of Le Tigre, though, i.e. there's pop happening in there as well as punk - my riot grrl comment was a bit random at the time but makes more sense now, almost. Anyhow it's still quite enjoyable.
Why don't I want to celebrate my non-pop flirtations any more, though? Good question: part of it is fear, I don't want to rush in and blurt about things I don't feel I understand in case I embarass myself: this is a bad motive. Part of it is humility, I don't feel such an urge to present myself as an eclectic free listener. Part of it also is a sense that the stuff I enjoy in these other musics is simply a modified version of what I enjoy more deeply and strongly in mainstream pop, and so my efforts are better spent trying to zero in on that.
Full disclosure: the little rhetorical flourish at the end of the review I think is a borrowing from Dave Marsh!