Words by the ever erudite Adam Turner.
Decius – a member of Fat White Family, plus Paranoid London – have a solo album out, straightforwardly titled Decius Vol 1. It’s a riot of electronic rhythms, acid disco, pulsing synths, sweaty basement sounds – vibrant music that feels alive from the moment you press “Play”.
There’s a tongue-in cheek-humour all over the album – shot through with single entendres, in songs such as Masculine Encounter, Roberto’s Tumescence, and Look Like A Man – all of which plant this record firmly in the don’t- take- yourself-too-seriously camp. Unrepentantly up for a good time, it’s an album that pulls together the feel of `70s New York, and mid-80s Chicago warehouse parties – men and women, straight and gay, black and white, bumping and grinding under the lights.
Fat White Family’s singer, Lias Saoudi, appears on many of the songs – his vocal often consisting of just a few phrases, mantras repeated over beats until they lose their meaning or take on a new one. Many of the tracks here began life as 12” singles and that’s how much of it feels – an album made for dancing, a soundtrack to a night out, the sound of the DJ at the club you’re a bit scared to go into. It’s hi-energy and highly charged, a non- stop erotic discotheque, sleazy and druggy and utterly addictive.
Ain’t No Church sets the album’s stall out immediately with cowbell, pumping bass and slurred vocals. The tension is present straight away as the rhythms build in intensity, the vocal sliding around on top, ‘Well there ain’t no church…’ drawled and gasped. There’s a thumping middle section, a Middle Eastern vocal dropped in, which sends the spirals even higher. Drums pounding. Bleeps bleeping. Chopped up vocal parts repeated. Chirruping synths. An acid arpeggio. This is just track one.
Look Like A Man throbs and wobbles, Lias’ vocal riding the strobe-lit energy, never flagging, as the machines pump out continuous pulses, and the bass synth stutters. Bread And Butter drops the intensity slightly – it still kicks, it just gives you the chance to catch your breath while doing so. From there it’s straight into I- Get- Ov, a snare and a squiggle and a robotic voice repeating the song title while a woman yelps.
Macbeth pushes things higher again, the bleeps and the darkness, acid house as viewed through a smoke machine and lasers. It continues through to the climax, a female voice, a rapid fire drum machine and layers of synths, all swirling around – a constant forward propulsion. What it’s got to do with the Thane of Cawdor and Birnam Wood, there is no clue. There’s the briefest of pauses and then Bitch Tracker II rumbles in, distorted bass and a second-long vocal loop.
Quick Reliefs is nothing of the sort and gives way to Come To Me Villa – voices whispering, appearing out of the darkness, muttering sweet nothings. The 808 cowbell re- appears and a snatch of static is dropped in before it all falls away – leaving just the Saoudi’s voice and the bass. Proper lysergic sleaze.
Show Me No Tears and U-Instead Of Thought keep the pressure up, the smell of poppers and leather seeping through the speakers, dancers working themselves silly. Decius’ album finishes itself off with Roberto’s Tumescence – a two note early 80s synthline and growly voice observing, ‘Each of us must twist’, over and over.
Decius’ Vol. 1 is out now, care of The Leaf Label.
You can find more pukka prose from Adam Turner over at his own brilliant blog, The Bagging Area.