Reviews of Information Overload by Alien Sex Fiend plus interview links
www.starvox.net "You're going to love it, and long term fans will be celebrating." Mick Mercer
Alien Sex Fiend - Information Overload - a review by Mick Mercer
Somewhere between an X-rated Clangers and a modern day Goon Show, we can find Alien Sex Fiend. One of the rarest of UK lifeforms, they sleep covered in cobwebs, beneath greenhouse workbenches, and even the snails outrun them in their garden. Away from our ears for way too long, you'll thrill again to their fractious fantasies as they begin cranking up and bursting out once more with a surprisingly short and often quite peculiar record. But what do you expect: normality after five years? Redundant revisiting of the past?
No, this is like a ghostly galleon, filled with bickering spirits, which sound naggingly familiar but then stretch out and gibber. Sure, the title track could almost be 'Ignore The Machine' it's so fresh and bulging with ideas as our head boy snarls, 'Rape and pillage, in the global village', that you might think we are witnessing a rebirth. Not so, it's just they often have more life in one song, when spectacularly unruly, than most bands deliver per album, and this is one of those tracks.
Then they bliss out with 'Motherfucker Burn' and get bubbly and gloopy, a sort of Launderette Of The Ring. Blibby blisters and twoinky drizzling innards slowly coalesce into a weird medical fanfare and a ranting, stomping fit, where you can wave your frail elederly relatives in the air, like you just don't care. If Carter USM had ever gone to Hell they might have written soemthing like this.
Where it gets very odd is 'Baby' which takes ages guguguggetting going, until finally some twisted guitar hoiks it all into a lewd dance, where it's a slice of glam treacle tart, heavy and mad as any Repka tackle, then 'Gotta Have It' which simply seems far too long, and despite being thunderous doesn't quite bring forth the cry of 'Incoming!' you'd hope to shout when it first started. Instead they're holding back with a scrambled, rambling beat, as a police siren or murdered bagpipes wail away.
The weirdness settles down and 'Kiss Arse' achieves what those tracks didn't quite manage, where layer upon layer sees it through to a wonderful end. They're got a new quicksand pull going here and it's intriguing. 'Voices In My Head' ("some are lviing, some are dead") is more traditional, but only in that echoey, perversely churchy wilderness way of theirs, like a building might be singing its own song, and then they end with some post-nuclear dynamics which could easily be vigilante toucans on parade.
It's fun, it's mildewed, it's got repeat appeal because of the softer twists and it's an angry thing at times. It's not a case of them being back on form, because they've never been off it, it's a case of they're back, and they're bouncing onwards, and for the more adventurous of you, this could be your first encounter. You're going to love it, and long term fans will be celebrating.
|FREQ Music E-Zine
"...recommended to space cadets
everywhere." Linus Tossio
Alien Sex Fiend - Information Overload - a review by Linus Tossio
There is something at once comfortingly ordinary and outrageously Other about Alien Sex Fiend - the extraordinary seems such a part of the Fiends' image that they wear it to the point of blending into the landscape of the musical landscape. Nik Fiend has always delivered his barbed couplets and blokish paranoia with the deadpan conviction of the geezer down the pub who lets everyone know just what's wrong with the world in a highly entertaining manner, while Mrs Fiend gets on with providing the backdrop of sinuous, twisted electronic sounds as the instrumental powerhouse behind the ASF throne. Information Overload is their long-awaited follow up to the Techno trip of Nocturnal Emissions some seven years back (four if taking the improved and expanded Special Edition from 2000 into account), and takes their sound into the Twenty-First Century proper with yet more devious purpose and infectious appeal.
When Nik snarls a catchy chorus of "Rape and Pillage in the global village" in the opening title track, his words twist the bitter knife of helpless rage at a world in self-inflicted flames and struggle, setting the scene for a familiar rampage through the ASF concerns - inequality, sex, pharmecuticals, mania and a hefty dose of simultaneous love for and loathing of humanity - it's no wonder that there is a mocking "Parental Advisory - this record contains Nik Fiend" notice on the cover, though the bleeps inserted into "Motherf*cker Burn" seem an odd step for a band who have never shied away from a little swearing and seem a little unlikely to be too concerned about radio airplay being a problem, especially given the lyrical content of other tracks. (see comment below!) Whatever the case, the mix of Rock'n'Roll and delerious electronics is especially evident here, with chugging riffs giving way to an elevated mid section of lilting synthetic voices, acoustic guitars and trippy vocal effects before crashing back gently to earth and the Dubby sensuality of "Baby". This is a track where Sex Fiend have harnessed the bass walk and chopped up Reggae beat to an orgasmically-moaned intro into a typical psychedelic stomp sparked up with scrawling guitar and drum machine handclaps.
Throughout this album, the Fiends display their experience and magpie appropriation of any genre fragments for their own ends - "Gotta Have It" churns to a distorted gunshot Dancehall rhythm overlaid with all the Punky attitude (and guitar) they've held dear to their devious hearts since The Batcave days and beyond. The more they borrow and upgrade, the greater the Fiends' ability to pummel and bemuse becomes, as is ably demonstrated throughout - where one effect will do, Mrs Fiend pushes it to the limit while Nik lets loose the scrapings of his psyche until the archetypes wriggle to the point of barbed simplicity, as he screams "It's all for me - Fuck you!" as the song writhes and snarls to a peak of volume and egotistical mania suitable for a stage persona which sometimes manifests (as depicted in the CD booklet) as a grim comic-book Nosferatu. "Kiss Arse" and "Voices In My Head" flip into the other side of madness, mashing up digital percussion and bass in a dub frenzy of doubt and uncertainty, mapping the tortuous pathways of existential collapse on an electronic grid of recursive drum loops and multiply-devolved voices until the sense of delerium is palpable. The latter's dreamlike state of drift and breathless descent through ambience and squidgily pulsating reflection marks a slowdown to Earth approach, Nik coasting in on the wings of his missus' digital heavenly choir - "it's like a symphony playing in my mind, playing over and over... those voices in my head".
As with any good symphony, there's a return, a coda in the shape of the upbeat groove of The Doors' "Five To One", which conjours both the pilled-up bombast of The Happy Mondays and the harder sort of dancefloor Trance the Fiends were so fond of on the "Evolution" and "Tarot" singles, complete with speech synth and overlaid wailing guitar. As they traipse off into a brightly scrubbed new world with a flicker of delay FX, ready for another trip next time, Mr and Mrs Fiend can be proud of their recapitulation of the lysergic world of ASF on Information Overload. It is an album which has at least equalled the manic peak of the ecstatically-mindblowing Open Head Surgery while pushing their music yet further, something which Nocturnal Emissions in both its editions never quite achieved with the same degree of success, and as such is recommended to space cadets everywhere.
Mrs Fiend comments : Ten out of ten for spotting the Dancehall influence on Gotta Have It !... now to Motherf**ker Burn & the bleeped out "naughty bits" - yep it wasn't a case of (ahem) trying to get radio play - as you'd pretty much guessed back there - the idea started off from a tune we had on an ancient cassette of old skool electro stuff from the US & that has a version of a song with the lyric "If you wanna dance with me", well whoever remixed it took the "dance" out & it replaced it with a bleep & thus made an absolutely filthy tune out of something quite cheesy. So that was the start, then once we'd heard the phrase "Motherfucker Burn" with the bleep in the middle, the bleep became part of the tune, part of the rhythm & we liked it better so we kept it that way. Now you know!
Recent interview by Daryl Litts with Nik & Mrs Fiend talking about Information Overload album.
Also if you check under "reviews" you will find interesting reviews of the "Drive My Rocket & "Nocturnal Emissions " albums by Marcus Pan.
Review of Information Overload in German
Has an interview with Alien Sex Fiend and Information Overload - in Italian
An excellent interview (end of 2004) with Nik & Mrs Fiend about the making of the Information Overload album & the shows at the Zillo Festival & Whitby.
Features an in-depth Alien Sex Fiend interview
Alien Sex Fiend interview
Review of Information Overload
|There are loads more out there, so if you know of anything not listed here please email webmaster and let me know!|