Gary Irwin aka Vendetta Suite’s debut LP, The Kempe Stone Portal, is a set stuffed with surprises. Stylistically chopping, and changing, it showcases just what the Belfast-based musician can do – demonstrating the sonic skills he’s amassed during some 30 years of studio time. Working alongside David Holmes as his “in-house” engineer all through the 90s, Gary contributed to banging floor-fillers on Sugar Sweet, Exploding Plastic Inevitable, and Go!Beat, as well as co-writing some of the music for David’s highly personal and cinematic, The Holy Pictures, album, in 2008. More recently Gary ably assisted Phil Kieran, under the moniker, Le Carousel, while Andrew Weatherall play-listed the track, Just Like Joe – a tribute to tragic, maverick, `60s producer Joe Meek – from Gary`s 2017 E.P., Solar Lodge 23. All of this experience comes into play on The Kempe Stone Portal.
Neon Secrets opens the album – snares smashing, drums crashing, synths emitting emotional explosions. Its magical motorik echoed on additional tracks, such as Christmas In Cologne and I Am The Ghost In My House. The latter sounding like Tubeway Army retro-working Primal Scream`s Shine Like Stars. Melodic machines snap, crackle and pop with synthetic experimentation. Their chimes and fizzing frequencies recalling Phil Spector`s “Wall Of Sound”, and that other tragic, maverick, music man’s `60s girl group productions. Della Notte boasts a punk rock bass-line, and backwards guitar. Sending feedback squalling, free-falling, on a tune that`s a ringer for a dynamite Killing Joke dub. A cover of Bo Diddley`s Who Do You Love draws inspiration from The Jesus & Mary Chain, and pushes the levels of delay even further. Driven by a Rhythm Devil`s metronome kick and drenched in distortion, it`s Agent Provocateur meet Spacemen 3 meet The Sabres Of Paradise, Death In Vegas on some serious drugs. An obsidian One Dove. Warehouse Rock is a speaker punishing, acid-soaked, skank – doffing its cap to both Mikey Dread and Longsy D. Spring Blues is lush, `luded glam. A stoned, slightly sleazy, slo-mo chug. The swooning strings, and harp-like glissando, of Maybe Tomorrow, make a perfect sunset soundtrack, while The Adult Section is similarly peaceful prog.
During this musical time-traveling journey the Second Summer Of Love is also alluded to. First, when a riff on Jamie Principle`s Your Love intros Morning Star – whose ecstatic, ethereal, exclamations are a reminder of indie-rock gone rave, Creation Records gone crazy. Wild, wide-eyed, and watching the sun rising while rushing on a roof on Westgate Street. Right off its nut like an updated out-take from Love Corporation`s Tones. Purple Haze, Yellow Sunrise, however, is actually full-blown 4-to-the-floor house – and to be honest, caught me totally off-guard. A cowbell-ed, conga-ed, gated, reimagined late `80s loved-up mentalist Mediterranean mover, it shakes with the sampled shards of several thousand “blinding” nights out. Listen closely and you might even hear the odd loon bird.
Hell Yeah! will release Vendetta Suite`s The Kempe Stone Portal on June 25th. You can purchase a copy directly here. Look out for a cracking, kosmische remix care of David Holmes.