The Native Cats : Dallas
Julian Teakle is an artist, in the conceptual sense of that term. He makes music that explores the fundamentals of the pop and rock genres, stripping each back to its constituent elements, mashing them up, rolling them out and isolating the bits that work, and discarding all the rest. Sometimes it works; other times, it confuses enough people to ensure Teakle remains on the fringes of the artistic scene. But it’s always important art.
The Native Cats has been Teakle’s primary musical outlet for the last few years, and Dallas is The Native Cats’ debut full-length record. It’s difficult to explain just why this is such a significant record. It’s partly because the opening track, Pane E Acqua, is near-perfect minimalist punk rock: just a bass riff and a set of evocative lyrics (“you off the record, or you at your best”); it’s also because Hit might be the dark electronic pop everyone’s always wanted to construct in their bedroom.
Or that I Remember Everyone works off the Celibate Rifles’ opening riff in Merry Xmas Blues and whisks it off into psychedelic PiL territory; or that the atmospheric intensity of Cavalier could wind its way into a Polanski film set in freakiest parts of regional Tasmania. But it could just as well be the Queenstown-via-Berlin scratching Devastations textural sonic experiment of Scratch Act, and the haunting musings of C of O.
And then there’s 11 and a half minutes of atomised psychedelic electronic punk in Mohawk-Motif. The bass riff is relentless, captivating, hypnotic; the sonic background is replete with weird noises – is this the onset of insanity and eternal confusion? The vocals kick in, and we’re confronted with a lecture from Mark E Smith, edited by John Lydon. If you don’t understand just why it’s so good by now, you never will. But if you do, you’ll never be the same again.
BY PATRICK EMERY
Best Track: Pane E Acqua
If You Like These, You’ll Like This: PUBLIC IMAGE LTD, THE FALL and all of JULIAN TEACLE’s other work, including THE FRUSTRATIONS and the BAD LUCK CHARMS
In A Word: Essential