Published January 12, 2016
Although not quite of it, Singapore Sling are a constant in the Icelandic music scene. As trends cycle from hip-hop to krútt to metal to techno and back again, Sling comfortably rest on the outskirts, eternally gazing into the void through dark shades and a haze of cigarette smoke, just doing their nihilistic rock thing until the darkness finally engulfs them. And this is a good thing, as their eighth studio album, ‘Psych Fuck’, aptly demonstrates.
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It starts with a krautrock drum machine beat before a sticky-sounding bass synth joins the mix. As unintelligible demonic whispers and creepy minor key piano chords fade in, we find ourselves engulfed deep in the tar pool of concentrated murk that is ‘Psych Fuck’.
Dark as that pit may be, there isn’t a moment of dull depression down there. Rather, what you’re drowning in is a seemingly infinite stream of novel expressions of hate, contempt and madness, in equal measures. Pay attention to bandleader Henrik’s voice on “Let It Rise,” as he abandons any last pretention to humanity, whatever remains of him hovering in circles around the bass line.
Singapore Sling’s ideology is focused, their aesthetic effective: feedback drones, leather, dirty organs, rockabilly swagger, Henrik’s haunted Lou Reed drawl and an eternal, sneering contempt for any- and everything held dear by bourgeoise society. This music absorbs light and hope, intently celebrating perversity, desperation and death. And it is good.
We reach Peak Nightmare on album standout “Try.” The mechanistic drum machine beat is scrambled to oblivion as the guitar fuzz tears through your eardrums. An out-of-tune bar piano hammers home the truth, while over it all an outright Satanic Henrik implores the listener, “Set me on fire!”
But then, there are lighter moments throughout ‘Psych Fuck’, although I wouldn’t go so far as to call them playful. “Give Me Some” offers a bubblegum melody, albeit one drenched in piercing J&MC feedback, and album closer “Tower of Foronicity” brings uplifting organ chords that are stacked with piles of white noise as the song progresses.
“All I want is to be held/Stay by myself in the darkest cell,” Henrik drawls on “Na Na Now.” If he keeps on churning out albums like these, I hope they lock him in that cell and throw away the key.