Album Review: Bilge Pump – 'We Love You'
Bilge Pump return for the first time in ten years with their mind-blowing masterpiece We Love You.
I like it when bands want to make your ears bleed. It’s what every heavy rock band should do, in my opinion. And Bilge Pump are no exception. We Love You is one of the strangest albums I’ve heard in a long time. It’s scrappy, noisey and edgey. But there’s a certain beauty and melody within. Think Manic Street Preachers The Holy Bible and all of Sonic Youth’s back catalogue.
First track ‘Wheel of Yew’ begins with the peaceful tweeting of birds followed by heavy riffing. It has the sludgey, slow and mean tempo of doom metal and an uneasy tremelo effect on the guitar. There is a false sense of security in this track as it doesn’t set you up for the rest of the album. Great! ‘Pangaea No More’ is based around quirky rhythms that somehow clash and complement each other. From here you can hear a Queens of the Stone Age vibe, especially in the Josh Homme style weirdness on the guitar. The best example of this is in ‘GUHAC’. The track has a strange folk middle section which is followed by a blistering high note electric lead. ‘Today They Destroyed My House’ starts with a funky jazz rock inspired intro then goes into a heavy rock verse courtesy of a snakey riff that explodes through the speakers. ‘Manzana De La Discordia’ reminds me of Gang of Four lyrically (‘I take some time off work’) and musically with the prominent bass lines.
The Wedding Present’s Bizarro album comes to mind in the vocals, particularly in the tracks ‘GUHAC’ and ‘The Passion of The Kid’. The vocals are soft over layers of noise created by the band and Joe O’Sullivan spews out lines of angst such as: ‘Give us half a chance you fucking arseholes’ (‘GUHAC’) and ‘The council don’t do shit ‘round here/…/Thank fuck for the musical output’ (‘The Passion of The Kid’). I couldn’t agree more with the latter line.
Each side of the record ends with two 8+ minute jams – ‘The Passion of The Kid’ and ‘Gondwana Girl’. They both exhibit the brilliant interplay between the band as they bash out riff after riff after riff.
I love everything about We Love You – it will be one of the best guitar albums of 2019, if not the decade.
Words by Matthew Brocklehurst