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Intense, Honest, and Not Especially Concerned with Niceties – SQURL’s EP #3

EP # 3
ATP Recordings

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Never content to have simply made a string of genre-bending, era-defining movies, Jim Jarmusch has long dabbled and bobbed in a parallel musical world (singer and keyboardist for early 8o’s No Wavers The Del-Byzanteens, mashing it up with Wu-Tang Clan a few years back), but not content with that either he’s now been driven to take his spikily restless spirit, sync it up with Carter Logan and Shane Stoneback and create audio product that rivals his filmic legacy at least insofar as the first of those two above hyphen-dependent adjectives is concerned. Intense, honest, and not particularly concerned with niceties, this is, at the least, a distinctly physical music. The SQÜRL sound seems intent on nothing less than wrestling with you and isn’t afraid to go to the mat.

The first thing one thinks when first track “First Time” comes blasting into existence is ‘someone’s been listening to quite a lot of Crazy Horse Neil Young,’ and in truth some shard of that impression never fails to shadow the proceedings here though it has to share the spotlight with a second suggested scenario, which amounts to “Jesus and Mary Chain, meet Earth. Now shake hands and go lose yourselves in one another.” This is especially true of “Francine Says” where the transgressive Spectorisms of JAMC get dragged even further down into the murk of a heavily wasted elegance, which is to say a piece of bad-dream pop of the highest (or lowest, depending) caliber.


Now, if all this bandying about of ostensible influence makes you go ‘Huh, derivative,’ stop and ask yourself how those artists thus far referenced, fused together into one solid Frankensteined bloc, even could sound derivative. No, this is its own beast by some measure, and for proof you need only step this way, where the seven-and-a-half “Black Swan” is floating in a flooded, murky dungeon where the Sunn O))) never shines, pulling at its chains and making the most glorious bastard stoner noise you’ve likely ever heard. Possibly the slowest catharsis in the history of catharses, “Black Swan” revels in a narcotized Melvinoid sludge that takes slowcore to its most explosive and pulls it apart like very dark, very tarry taffy. And the weird thing? It’s all quite thrilling for all that, you’ll have all kinds of curious adventurous thoughts while listening to this.

Coming on the heels of their well-received Jozef Van Wissem-collaborated soundtrack to Only Lovers Left Alive from earlier this year, the series of EPs of which this is the final installment confirms SQÜRL as not only a potent force that’s suddenly risen out of New York City with the entrancing fury of a Manhattan Mothra but as well a full-on rock band, not a dilettantish digression as has been the case with, umm, a few other movie folk. Jarmusch may be the marquee name here, but the band is the main attraction.

[EP 3 is available as a hand-numbered, limited edition of 1000 heavyweight – what else? – 12″ vinyl disc here]