By Robyn Simmons
|An Axe - Destructo!|
Allow yourself, if you will, to be transported to the shores of an untouched island; rainforests impenetrably thick, sands blindingly white, tides dazzlingly clear. And then take that vision and thrash a cold shard of jagged glass right through the centre. That’s what Bristol-based An Axe serves up with the first half of their double single, ‘Destructo!'
Pop on your sunglasses after dark and a sinister night will taint your vision - and your eardrums; from those luscious rich forests will emerge creatures of mystery and threat, lured by the one sign of human life - a desperate scream that hurls the instrumental into action. That diamond-encrusted tide doesn’t look so inviting as it bubbles up the damp sand to taunt your vulnerable toes.
If ‘Destructo!’ takes you on a Halloween surfing safari, then ‘Cherry’ jets you off to Latin America with its dark tango twist. By means of introduction, the lead singer gets straight to the point, crooning “Oh Cherry, it’s your sister we’ll bury,” in his unsettlingly refined way. Having been likened to Nick Cave, this half of the single allows those rotting, festering Bad Seed shoots to wind their way up An Axe’s new musical direction.
Cool, controlled and laid back, both ‘Destructo!’ and ‘Cherry’ radiate retro chic and An Axe successfully takes the listener back to the late 50s with their distinctive vintage riffs. Yet through all that twisted fever, rhythmic drums and lazy strums effortlessly make the singles somehow smooth, melodic and easier on the ear than one might imagine a murder ballad to be. Taking heed from the psychobilly trend that’s flinging youngsters back through the decades, the likes of Batmobile, the Meteors and the Cramps have produced tracks with a similar leering aloofness to compliment their frenzied rockabilly revival.
Both singles ooze the charismatic of a Hollywood gangster; undeniably likeable, but with an attitude that’ll keep you on edge, not quite comfortable to let your guard down. To the uninitiated, the tracks suggest a band long-established in the realms of noir pop, so confident and convincing are An Axe in their new sound. This neatly compiled venture to the shores of nightmarish paradises and vintage horror presents a contagious concoction that’ll rapidly embed itself in the minds of every listener.