Riff monsters they may be, but Part Chimp have often resembled a rather benign kind of beast. Sure, their ungodly speaker-stacks are fit to rend the ground asunder, resonating on a level that somehow unites the earthly and the cosmic. Yet maybe it’s some combination of this south London-based band’s prehistoric status (all of them having been dragging bass amps up steep flights of stairs for some 15 or so years now) and their rather slack work rate that gives this impression: that of a potentially fearsome if somewhat content creature ambling along at its own pace, and dealing with malice and wrath only when it can absolutely be bothered.
Nonetheless, Thriller, their third album in nine years of blown cones and howling tinnitus, is proof positive that this animal packs both a mighty and a graceful punch when such a moment arrives. For the uninitiated, the brawny rumble of these nine tracks fall somewhere between the moody clangour of 80s Sonic Youth and the behemoth-mighty ballast of Melvins. What’s more, Part Chimp’s in-the-red attack resonates on a level of intensity that rather belies a scruffy bunch that can’t be bothered to name their tracks any more poetically than Trad and ffffff. Moreover, it would seem that there’s a part of this Chimp’s heart that will forever will be in the Camden Falcon somewhere in the early 90s, back in the days way before indie rock mysteriously went glamorous, when the immediate landscape was a torrid sea of long-sleeved tees, lank locks and beer-flecked Converse.
Yet with new bassist Tracy Bellaries, formerly of underrated metropolitan malcontents Ikara Colt, adding a hitherto unforeseen level of glamour to the proceedings, the primitive future of Part Chimp is looking healthier, and their anti-evolutionary stance more compelling than ever. Thriller’s skewed and gut-level punishment is evidence enough that scuzzbags of a certain stripe need not look across the Atlantic to the like of Big Business and Harvey Milk for their over-amped thrills. And, what‘s more, that sometimes being a perpetual underachiever is where it’s at. --Jimmy Martin
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