Friday, February 12, 2010

Patriotic Window Klings - Guitargument [Speed Tapes]

The Patriotic Window Klings are, aside from being one of the best named bands in recent memory, a psych-damaged duo from one of the Carolinas (North?) but their myspace now says London so I'm all confused. Though listening to Guitargument probably aided all the confusion.
This tape is like the fourth shrink-wrapped tape I've owned in my life, the first two were the Space Jam soundtrack and Bad Hair Day by 'Weird' Al Yankovich though so it's more like the second of my mature musical life. What bearing does that have on the music? None. But I feel compelled to mention it cause of how goddam weird it is to see a tape in shrink-wrap. So, Speed Tapes, thanks for making me remember and confront the fact that I owned a Weird Al tape. Thanks a lot...
Alright, enough of this bullshit. Guitargument rumbles to a strong but leisurely start with the two-minute title track. A hypnotic, post-blues guitar riff anchors the jam with a precise tick-tock feeling upon which the Klings pile up a pastiche of fuzzed-out pentatonic solos along with a indecipherable recording from a movie or something. It's one of my favorites from the tape and lays out the vibe pretty well. "Beak Returns" veers back and forth between a noise tape and like Blues Control or something. There's some guitar solo/drum machine action going on but plenty of scraping guitar and whathaveyou disrupting the groove. "Black Ditch Walk" is even more splintered, decontextualizing blues riffage and inserting it into some free floating tape-splice menagerie. "Sauchiehall" has more movie samples and acts like the "Take My Breath Away" of the tape. You know, the default mellow, vaguely romantic, uh, warped blues/musique concrète jam. Lovely piece though. "The Donkey Park" lets two guitars trade mournful licks while "Concrete" flips the script with a buoyant uptempo classic rock riff and chugging power chords that gets pried apart as it goes along. "Endless Smoke" is another favorite. It's hazier than a lot of the other tracks with a great melodic chord progression.
"Dog" starts off the second side. It's another two minute track and probably the most collaged of the cassette. "Walton Towers" brings in some more smoky blues dirge riffs with manipulated effects and random clatter. I think there might even be an organ in here. A surprisingly lovely dual guitar melody/counter-melody bit bleeds over into "Slab of Puce" until it takes up a rhythmic cycle of wah'd guitar groans. "Rabid Shoes" takes things a step weirder with theremin-esque pitch manipulation over some borderline metal guitar riffs. "Dusky" seals things up with more weird groans and pitch manipulation with new blues-rock guitarchitecture underneath (see what I did there?) and breaks into another repeated riff and some weird-ass loop of a kid asking something unintelligible amidst the clanging of jingle bells.
It took me a few spins to get into Guitargument, but what makes it work is, despite its leisurely, wandering pace, is the Klings never take their eye off the rhythm. Furthermore, the rhythmic element of the album rarely comes from things traditionally used to provide rhythm (i.e. drums) which makes things a ton more interesting. The Patriotic Window Klings are giving the standard dudes-jammin'-on-guitars genre a much needed facelift and I'm all for it.
Check Speed Tapes for copies.

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