Wednesday 19 March 2014

Tense Men Are Neither Dull Nor Forgotten

I’ve always had an unhealthy affinity for minimalist, repetitive, cold, spiky post punk. I can’t remember which particular band turned me onto this. I do remember the first time I heard the Language of Numbers EP and rightly realised that My Disco were gods. Or hearing Unknown Pleasures for the first time and not known what planet I was on. Or why the cold bastards of Iceage, Holograms and Lower energise and excite. The intermingling of cold, stark guitar lines with motorik drums and deep drawled/chanted lyrics seems hardwired into my loins. So it’s a no brainer that I am a massive fan of new band Tense Men, which is a project for Oliver Fischer (Cold Pumas) and Rich Phoenix (Sauna Youth), and their EP Where Dull Care Is Forgotten. Opener ‘Stages of Boredom’ hovers with burly indecision, wanting to burst forth but not ready to give in; but it’s ‘RNRFON’ where the restraint comes in full form. There is no indecision here – Tense Men want to lead you on, light the fires under your soul, have you writhe around in agony and ecstasy – and never extinguish those tetchy flames. The band is now a trio, having gleaned a drummer on the way (from Omi Palone, who are releasing a self-titled album through the ever excellent Faux Discx who are responsible for this EP too), and the looped transgressions displayed here stresses how more claustrophobic and constricting these guys could be in a live arena. It’s still a band experimenting with the form – I like ‘Lie Heavy’ without being enamoured with it (except when the sketchiness is relieved as the toms are left alone for a more free flowing rhythm in the final third), but the last two tracks 'Nonentities' and especially 'Opiate Glow' are stone cold killers. Where Dull Care Is Forgotten is a great brooding entrée – bring on the piece a la resistance…

You can get Tense Men’s EP from here.

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