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Those Deep Buds

Dog Faced Hermans

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Album Review

Not many rock bands have a trumpet as a key instrument, but then again not many rock bands — not many musical groups, period — are quite like the Dog-Faced Hermans. With production by noted U.K. boardsman Guy Fixsen, Those Deep Buds kicks with a vicious, smart passion, with lead figure Marion handling the vocals and aforementioned brass with aplomb. Backed by the fine, ragged rhythm section of bassist Colin and drummer Wilf and playing off the rough, spindly riffing of guitarist Andy, she leads her charges down constantly unexpected musical detours with entertaining results. It might not be too far to suggest that the group has the same questing spirit as bands like Wire, the Slits, or the Raincoats, but rather than simply recreating the work of those leaders of U.K. post-punk, the Hermans doggedly pursue their own distinct muse. Hints of Krautrock also crop up, both in trancy rhythms (the ebb and flow of "Keep Your Hands/Off My Body") and in the sudden shifts and stops in the music at many points. Fragmentation and propulsion rather than easily hummed melodies are the name of the game, with everything from flamenco-touched percussion and playful, '20s/'30s jazz runs to virulent condemnation of societal idiocies on the agenda. Fixsen's production brings out the strength in the individual performances while retaining space and depth in the mix, even when everything ratchets up to a full explosion. Marion's vocals are never entirely buried, her strong voice cutting through it all, while Andy's guitar play often reaches majestic heights, equal to the sonic wash of shoegazing without losing any bite. Particular highlights include the tight, swinging groove of "Les Femmes et les Filles Vont Danser" and the harrowing peek into the heart of evil "Calley," reliving the horror of the My Lai massacre as echoed down through time.

Biography

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Orchestral instruments, including viola, trumpet, and saxophone, were combined with such oddities as hippo tube and foghorn to create the ultra-loud post-punk sounds of the Dog Faced Hermans. Although the group disbanded in 1995, the members of the Dog Faced Hermans remain active. Bass guitarist and steel drum player Colin McLean worked with Pere Ubu vocalist David Thomas before become a full-time sound engineer for the Ex. Guitar, hippo tube, and viola player Andy Ex went on work with the Ex, Kletka...
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Those Deep Buds, Dog Faced Hermans
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