25 Oct 2019 - Thorsten
Post-Electro-Metal | The Flenser | Release date: 25 Oct 2019
A side-project to die for by one part of Have A Nice Life releases an impressive record.
Sometimes the seemingly impossible is possible. Leicester City wins the Premier League, some player not Messi or Ronaldo wins an important award, Guns’n’Roses reunite, Tom G. Warrior finishes his “Requiem Trilogy”</i<> with an orchestra-supported performance at Roadburn. However, can a side-project achieve something as unique as the “main” project? Sometimes yes – think of S.O.D. who sometimes outshone Anthrax.
Consumer is a side-project, and Have a Nice Life is its roots. Tim of HANL formed Consumer in 2017 together with the live-band that supports him and Dan on the road. However, it must be noted that this band is hopefully more than a once-off-project because their sound and approach are different to HANL. You can hear some proto-noise in Consumer’s sound even though it is coming from an opposite idea. If we take bands like the Melvins or Pere Ubu, it is clear that the foundation for their early work was always a guitar and the wish to do something unusual with it. Consumer also want to do something unusual, but their foundation is clearly much more focused on electronics and synths. The shared motif is distortion. Consumer distort their instruments (the aforementioned plus guitars and a regular rhythm section) and twist them around and around until everything contributes to a mantra-esque hard flow of ebb and tide.
Sometimes the drums sound as if Einstuerzende Neubauten got the idea that self-made instruments are cool but their sound had to go through a broken vocoder to make the result even more uncomfortable just to lose a battle with a synth-driven melody that alludes to the end of a sinking ship on the open sea. Everything is in its right place, flows into one another on In Computers and even though the sound is hard to describe it must be clear that this band has a knack for ear candy. The sounds are unusual and sometimes harsh but they never disgust.
The instrumental trilogy “In Computers Parts I – III” at the end is definitely HANL-like, of course as Tim is at work. The electronica in “Part II” can be seen as a little nod to Radiohead in their Kid A/ Amnesiac-period, not the worst of mental connections; some other parts sound like a very self-indulging and noise-less collab between Mogwai and Aphex Twin. Obviously, a lot of ideas, connections, comparisons come to mind when listening to Consumer’s full-length debut but one should note that this is a release which can take all of that scrutiny and needn’t be afraid of any of it for it is unique and self-sufficient. And maybe that is the best one can say for any side-project, right?