By Daniel Cairns
First off, what do you expect from the name Chimp Spanner? It sounds like a deranged, primordial sex toy.
Alas noooo. Chimp Spanner is a band. A one man band. A one man ambient spazz-prog sex machine band. Called Paul.
Anyway he’s quite good in a strangely detached, clinical way. If you want a lazy description of his music, imagine Fredrik Thordendal and Vangelis having a mad bumming session, and then giving birth to a child that looked a bit like Devin Townsend. And instead of having post coital cigarettes, they nip out to the pub and beat the shit out of Jeff Wayne. I don’t know why, they just do. Also everyone’s a fucking alien.
We have ourselves an instrument widdler (FNAR). Chimp Spanner aka Paul, can obviously play like a motherfucker. Through the course of the album we get chuggy Meshuggah bits, Steve Vai style self abuse and lovely quiet bits that you can look out at the sea to and ponder about how the universe is like, so big maaaaan.
Chimp Spanner is one of many to partake bountifully of the teat of Meshuggah. In the last few years we’ve seen many a bastard do the off-kilter chugging thing. Some do it very well. SikTh were pretty stonking. A Life Once Lost were vaguely entertaining. Even the first Mnemic album is interesting. But, as with any style, some pissants have to blunder in and ruin it don’t they? Not naming names (COUGHPERIPHERYSPLUTTER).
My beef is, these newer bands have taken all the style and technicality of Meshuggah, but left out the BALLS. People never got into Meshuggah because they were technically precise. If they did they were spacks. People got into Meshuggah because they were flat out fucking SAVAGE. The first time I heard Concatenation I wanted to go nuts and throw things. The first time I heard Fellsilent though I wanted to cry and throw my dog out the window. And my dog is bigger than me. Then again fucking Dakota Fanning is bigger than me.
Anyhoo, my point is that Chimp Spanner are sort of guilty of the diluted Meshuggah thing, as the album is filled with assloads of vaguely derivative stop-start chug chug guitar wankery. Not so good. HOWEVER! Chimpy gets away with it, because judging by this album, he’s got something that all the other djenty bellends don’t… imagination. For every bit that sounds like a half arsed Meshuggah riff, there are five or six that recall Devin Townsend at his proggy best, or another few bits that evoke the soundtrack to some 80’s sci fi. Because I’m a fucking twat who grew up on stuff like that, I loved these bits. Also there’s a bit that sounds like the ER theme tune, which never really bothered me as I never watched it because hospital dramas scare me. Apart from House. He’s so cranky!
Also there’s no singing, which is good. All the Meshuggah knock offs have dreadful boyband vocals. What the fuck man? Did Jens Kidman ever start going ‘oooooh baaaaaaby?’ No he did not. He roared about fucking Terminators and shit. Mr Spanner doesn’t sully his release with anything so syrupy. As such, it works like a soundtrack pretty well.
If I’m honest, I wouldn’t choose to listen to this normally, but if you’re the type of person who has an attention span and likes sci fi and spazzy prog, you’ll get a lot out of this. I’d say it’s reet good. Then again, I’m tits deep in Babybird and Failure at the minute, so what the fuck do I know?