Fuck-Off Machete: If Gold Was Silver and Silver Was Gold (Highpoint Lowlife, 2005)

by Brent

Fuck-Off Machete If Gold Was Silver and Silver Was GoldThundering drums. Spastic guitars. Obtuse lyrics. Rock mayhem with a truly punk attitude. Three-piece rock, fronted by an immediately arresting female vocalist. Lyrics like, “This is your car, I crashed it so well!”. What else would you expect from a band called Fuck-off Machete, whose very name conjures up reckless attitude and out of control danger? On their three-song single If Gold Was Silver and Silver Was Gold, this trio from Glasgow, Scotland play an invigorating brand of trash rock. If Gold Was Silver and Silver Was Gold is a prelude to their upcoming full-length, to be released in Spring 2006, and if the EP is any indication, Fuck-off Machete will amaze audiences with their bubblegum songs played in a storm of rock fury.

Even though the songs on If Gold Was Silver and Silver Was Gold are few, and even relatively straight forward in terms of instrumentation (vocals, guitars, bass, and drums), there is a lot about this band that immediately captivates the listener. Even looking beyond the jagged guitars and crude (but accomplished) drumming and the relentless dynamics of the songs, the listener is immediately drawn in by vocalist Natasha Noramly’s delivery. Reminding one of a messed-up and hoarse Bjork, or a drunk Deborah Harry, Noramly alternately shrieks and whispers her vocals squeezing every bit of passion she can into each syllable. Not everyone can pull of the ability to sound as street-smart, tough, and tortured as Noramly while retaining a sense of control and even innocence. She ably manoeuvres her chilling vocals over the crazed instrumentation, and expresses the attitude of Fuck-off Machete vividly. On the romping title song, the band intermits between loud crunchy guitar parts and more jangly sections while Noramly lets loose with gritty wail. “Copper and Lead Fight” is only a bit quieter, yet all the more devastating with its snarling lyrics and chugging rhythm. The EP winds up with “Fall in Trust (2005)”, the most melodic song of the bunch, with its sing-song chorus that instantly reminds the listener of punk’s 1970’s hey-day.

If Gold Was Silver and Silver Was Gold is a seething prelude to what promises to be one of the most wild releases we’ll hear in 2006. Fuck-off Machete more than lives up to its forthright moniker, playing blunt rock that assaults the listener. If Gold Was Silver and Silver Was Gold is the sound that corporate “punk-pop rockers” have nightmares about: real, tough, powerful, and unhindered snarling rock. And with the enhanced disc also offering a video of the title song, If Gold Was Silver and Silver Was Gold is a great introduction to this intense band. For fans of: Sonic Youth and punk-noise-rock in general.

Interestingly enough, this EP is released by Highpoint Lowlife, a label more known for its electronic-ambient releases than its rock releases. Though the label has dabbled in releasing more aggressive electro-pop-rock CD’s, If Gold Was Silver and Silver Was Gold is leaps and bounds ahead of the other Highpoint Lowlife releases in terms of rock ferocity. And electronic warblings make no appearances on this daring release by Fuck-off Machete!

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