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:: The Permissive Society :: The Fountain :: Ape Drape Escape :: White Heat ::
22 September 2006 / The BierKeller / Manchester
By Cath Aubergine / Oskat Kendrish

Cath Aubergine :

Since they first caught our eye a couple of years ago, playing as a stark duo under the soon-to-be-changed name of R.Mutt at a pub back room ITC Fringe event, Maria Dada has taken The Fountain through a string of line-up changes Mark E. Smith would be proud of, as well as serving a stint in the other great revolving door of the Manchester underground The Forest. So how settled this trio will end up is anyone's guess; the drum-stool is now currently ably occupied by ex-Yena Veldt man David Markovich, who's also played in Nursing Home with Sonar Yen / Stranger Son of WB man Tim - I tell you, Pete Frame would have a field day with this lot. Here's hoping they do stick it out though, as this is the strongest Fountain we've seen for some time. It's something of a departure musically as well, with some lead vocals now provided by guitarist Ted Kemp, and elsewhere shared (duelling, as opposed to duetting) with Maria. Sound-wise they're shifting from the confrontational to the simply powerful. Has Manchester's angriest frontwoman lost her bite? You'll be pleased to know the answer is "has she fuck". She maybe doesn't sound like she's about to punch your face in any more, but you still wouldn't mess. What we have now is a tunefully aggressive melting pot of Breeders, Fall and Wire and every bit as thrilling as that implies - post-punk with the spirit and sense of purpose of those original practitioners as opposed to the watery imitations that have blighted the phrase in recent years. Tight as fuck and exploding with potential, this is where the revolving door stops and The Fountain start their assault.

The Permissive Society seem, too, to have undergone some shifts. Out with the retro-velvet stylings and (at least some of) the hair, and in with some more indie-oriented influences alongside the still quite prevalent Cult-do-Led-Zep rock. Still dirty as anything, though; if the newer tracks have brought a little calm it's also allowed the band's intelligent and incisive lyrics a stronger platform. Sean Permissive jokes: "We're the Permissive Society and we write songs from the head not the hair." It's a dry comment which could, quite possibly, be directed at the next act.

Oskat :

If PR girls or fashion students (delete as appropriate), rather than musicians, formed a band it would probably sound like White Heat. Clearly music is not at the forefront of this co-ed combo. Idealism aside, an enticing image never goes amiss. Neither however, does the odd tune which is what White Heat painfully lack. The singer has a mighty larynx and the drummer knows her way around the kit but their approach to song writing is basic to say the least. There is of course an eccentric hairstyle or two and a tsunami of posing and posturing. And would anyone care if they were overweight and unattractive? Answers on a betting slipů

Sheffield sextet The Ape Drape Escape aren't quite as scary as their taste in make-up would indicate. They are however very angry with many a blue word ricocheting off the walls of The Bierkeller. Musically, they're a zany bunch reminiscent of a trashier and thrashier Fall with wiry staccato riffs and nagging vocal lines. It probably won't set the world alight, but it is good, dirty fun that refuses to take itself too seriously.

The Permissive Society
The Fountain

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