Gag
(Originally appeared in Probemusic, June 2001)

"I can't remember what the fanzine was called. It was all gushing praise for Manic Street Preachers and Stereophonics and for some reason it reviewed a Gag single." Leighton Crook is recalling his favourite review. "All it did was describe the first track: This song is 2-and-a-half minutes long, there are approximately five tempo changes and in the region of 14 chords.. What is the point?"

Whatever you might think about its anally-retentive attention to detail, you can't accuse the review of being anything other than scrupulously fair. It wouldn't suit the new single Caveman Shuffle Suffers Known As Patty though, not according to Leighton at least. "We've got a lot more lazy about the sound and I've got really into that big fudge of music that's impenetrable without being really, really offensively fast. I like stuff like Sun Ra and I like to condense that improvised feeling down into a manageable chunk, like an advert." This may be true, but the single still sounds like half-a-dozen songs fighting to get out of a snarl-guitar straightjacket.

The band started around ten years ago. Their first 7" was on Voice of Shade, the second on Hemiola and the third on Guided Missile, split with American jerksmiths God Is My Co-Pilot. All releases after that have been on the band's own Flitwick Records, and have been given away for free.

Free? "Yeah, it's the most logical finishing point for the songs. We spend a little bit of time writing them, play them live a couple of times then record 'em, put 'em out and bin 'em." They do say that pop music should be disposable. "Well, it's got no significance artistically, so there's no point being precious." He's being disingenuous, surely. "Not in the grand view of things. It's probably relevant to us because we write them and then it maybe affects ten people in the world for five seconds."

This is not the attitude of a band destined for superstardom. "To be honest, the band have no objectives and no ultimate plans. It's just something that we pursue for no good reason. When we get together we don't talk about music, we talk about how to get the best results from your washing."

In an ideal world they'd clean up. As it is, they'll carry on putting out records by themselves and their extended musical family ("We tried to do a Rock Venn Diagram as an aerial photo, with ropes on the floor and people standing in their subsets, but it's just too complicated.") Sign up for free records at www.flitwickrecords.co.uk or write to PO Box 26, Flitwick, MK45 1ZU


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