The sound that the South Wales sludge rock four-piece Sump make when together sounds at times and turns as dark and gloomy as the weather in their part of England. The band uses this very good effect on their latest six-song EP the adequately entitled and brevity stricken II. The six songs run a filthy gamut from slow and dark rambling dirges to funk infused punk rock jam sessions. All six of the songs on II were recorded live. During the mixing process, Owen Street, who mixed the album for the band took off a lot of the compression in order to give II as natural a sound, which would reflect what the band really sounds like. It pays off immensely even though at times D Holohan’s vocals are a little bit quiet, though this helps to add to Sump’s mystique.
The album opens fiercely with sleazy stoner-rock guitar riff that permeates “Fuck Elite.” Holohan’s vocals keep everything in check on this tune. One senses that she has the power to scream out, echoing some of the finest lady punk front women of the day, but instead she holds back and gets her point across with a bit of subdued Janis Joplin meets Jim Morrison.
As “Fuck Elite” soldiers on, it gets more muscular, and one can hear it building to its final climax. Next “Spread” is a thick and sludgy slow rock stomp in the vein of early Black Sabbath. Here one notices how well the hovering fuzz in the background plays so well along with music in the foreground, acting almost like a musical fog.
The tune “Born & Inbred” is a witty and funny take on the relationship between a brother and sister. As the music adds a bit of organ to go along with the stomp bass and drums, it sounds almost like something one would hear coming from the arcade of a carnival. But here it is Holohan’s lyrics which really help to make the song masterful as she sings, “I love my brother he looks just like me/we like to keep it in the family/I know it ain’t right but I can find a cure/our kids look wrong but their bloodline is pure.” The album closes with the six-plus minute blues/rock jam session that is “Long Gone Silver” which after a time sounds like an ode to Iron Butterfly. It rocks.
Many bands today make excellent sounding studio records, however when you go out to see them live they sound like crap. I don’t think that II in any way sounds like crap, however after several spins of it I can say that they are a band that is probably, at this point in their career best seen live. So if you’re in Wales anytime soon, check the nearest rock club for show times.
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