Hot on the heels of their hits album and a triumphant Valentine’s Day gig Miss Halliwell is back with a brand new EP, Abscess Granted. It’s a suitable title for a band that could be seen as existing to infect and eat away at much of the lamentable auto tuned overproduced dirge that passes for music these days and the EP opens with the kind of tribal drumming that normally, equally appropriately, signifies some kind of human sacrifice or declaration of war. In fact Dimwit’s a glorious post punk rollercoaster of a track, trundling along a fair old speed before slowing suddenly to an almost funereal pace and then...whoosh...we’re off again...hold on to your lunch suckers. Musos may spot a pleasing hint of The Blockhead’s Blackmail Man in there, good to see at least one band doing their ‘Dury’ service...
Dimwit segues rather nicely into Solid Wench. I do love a good Solid Wench. “Half past hate” rasps Miles before unleashing a stream of lyrics that mean absolutely nothing and yet everything all at the same time. What would Ken Dodd make of it all? Answers on the decapitated torso of a Diddy Man please. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, comes a cover of The Four Tops classic, Reach Out. Miles plays it pretty straight (although I’m pretty sure Holland Dozier Holland didn’t write the line “Because the human race is rife with corruption and it’s scarred with organised religion”...more’s the pity), with just the merest hint of his familiar sneer in there. Sure it’s Karaoke meets Klassic but there’s something about the mix of old skool synths coupled with Miles’ Midlands’ accent that makes the whole thing strangely moving. Next up B-Raters Girlfriend drips with bile (for Miles himself seemingly - “I’m not as fun as the pictures in my brain would have me believe” - almost as much as for the song’s target?) and its classic Halliwell. Offbeat but catchy it’s possibly the ‘rockiest’ they’ve ever sounded with some particularly meaty beaty drumming from the lovely Rose of Bearwood. You never know where Halliwell will head next so frankly you shouldn’t be surprised that Shall We takes a psudden pysch tinged pswerve. Imagine PiL era Lydon fronting Syd era Floyd and you’ll have some vague idea of the vibe. Ambition and eclecticism? Thy name is Miss Halliwell.
It ends all too soon with the mini 'masterpiss' of Capitulate, one man’s personal plea bargain with himself and his fellow Halliwellians to keep going no matter what, all set against a surprisingly bouncy synth line and old skool handclaps. “Whatever happens we won’t capitulate” (that’s the Miss Halliwell manifesto right there) spits Miles with the kind of defiance that usually ends in a six hour siege and police shootout before spinning off on a gloriously wild simian freakout. It...and this whole ruddy brilliant EP for that matter...is Abscess-ential listening for anyone who likes their music with the guts still in.
You can snap up the EP right here via iTunes. Miss Halliwell also play The Sunflower Lounge this Saturday March 7th !