Slobber Pup: Pole Axe

Acerbic second album by the free-jazz agents provocateurs.

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The needle spins every which way between the poles of the stylistic compass on this uncompromising but utterly exhilarating release.

In the dizzying blur there are moments resembling the experimental angularities heard in early Soft Machine, Can and other improv-friendly outfits. In truth, though, attempting to tether Slobber Pup to the progressive music continuum is probably futile: this is aggressively free-ranging stuff. The fearless sequence of intuitive leaps, queasy tonal spatter and ominous, grudging drones are all played out with a remarkable, frequently devastating ferocity. The original trio of Jamie Saft (keyboards), Joe Morris (electric guitar/acoustic bass) and Balazs Pandi (drums) are joined for this release by saxophonist Mats Gustafsson, best known for his noise-terror improv outfit The Thing. The glowering harmonics and skronking howls that are his trademark add extra layers of peril. Twenty minutes into Bring Me My Desire And Arrows To Shoot, the climatic build-up erupts into a sonic tornado that howls with violence. Such is the density of this unrelenting attack, it’s sometimes impossible to untangle the astringent detonations radiating out of this quartet.

Sid Smith

Sid's feature articles and reviews have appeared in numerous publications including Prog, Classic Rock, Record Collector, Q, Mojo and Uncut. A full-time freelance writer with hundreds of sleevenotes and essays for both indie and major record labels to his credit, his book, In The Court Of King Crimson, an acclaimed biography of King Crimson, was substantially revised and expanded in 2019 to coincide with the band’s 50th Anniversary. Alongside appearances on radio and TV, he has lectured on jazz and progressive music in the UK and Europe.  

A resident of Whitley Bay in north-east England, he spends far too much time posting photographs of LPs he's listening to on Twitter and Facebook.