Review Summary: Frighening debut by Tom Waits’ evil twin brother’s new band.
“Third One Rises” is the sound of a bar jazz band gone berserk. A punch of highly talented British musicians are torturing their respective instruments and Tom Waits’ evil twin brother takes up the microphone spitting, crying, growling, whispering and howling out his inner demons. This wicked incarnation of a crooner is called Andrew Plummer and “Third One Rises” is his new band’s debut album - but damned be everyone who wouldn’t initially assume these musicians have already got and sung the blues for a lifetime before they recorded this album in hell.
Andrew Plummer seems to be one of those surreal personalities able to hold a candle to the godfather of whacky bar jazz and cabaret influenced experiments who is Tom Waits. And well, Tom Waits is the reference in question, obviously. Of course there are other references ranging from Nick Cave’s extremer moments to Captain Beefheart and John Zorn and Mike Patton’s many collaborations that could be thrown into the pot at this point - his “influences” section on MySpace is endless and includes everything from Napalm Death to Karlheinz Stockhausen. But in the end, it is as simple as that: if you like Waits you sure as hell gonna like this album.
The songs soak up everything from insane folk tunes, avant-garde jazz, dissonant blues punk to dance music for mutants with five-and-a-half legs. Opener One Yard Bard
kicks off with the album’s crazier side, messy improvisations over tight rhythms and Plummer’s baritone soaring all over it like he alone sees some insane logic behind it all. The musicians behind reeds, trumpet, piano (and gongs!), bass and drums are all supposed to be huge in the English underground but that doesn’t mean you or I have ever heard about any of them so far. The one most likely to ring a bell is Billy Jenkins, who’s bluesy guitar makes a guest appearance twice. The band slays during these 40 minutes, laying claim to all the shades from sweetness to brutality, with their instruments constantly leaving the path to explore even more improvisational and dissonant grounds, always on the verge of entirely forgetting to accompany Plummer’s theatrical tales and breaking free. This kind of schizophrenic state in which both the singer and the band seem to have a life of their own works surprisingly well and finds new ways to clash and/or fit again and again.
The artwork already gives a good hint of how wicked this album’s own world is, featuring several eerie woodcuts (I suppose they’re woodcuts), looking like they’d fit right into some really old fairy tale book which in reality never educated but only scared the children shitless. Actually Plummer’s lyrical work on here might best be compared to Nick Cave, who shares with him a similar vision, bleak and full of dark humour. “I’m tired of shouting from rooftops”
he grumbles in the title track and then goes on “Another glass and another cut, / A salted nail, / A lustless deep-fried dread crumb fvck”
. Half the time no-one but himself is likely to have any idea what he is actually singing about, but the lyrics hardly ever fail to have an impact, even at their most cryptic: “And where it’s rot grows I’ll be found. / With wings of marzipan and lust, / An epoxide heart and wood spat cankerous crust.”
As far away from easy listening as possible, World Sanguine Report are unlikely to create more than a cult following, although the success of forebears like Nick Cave and Tom Waits might work in the band’s favour. Where the future will take Plummer and his guilty parties we don’t know, but there’s a feeling this won’t be the last masterpiece of his warped mind.