Thin Privilege - Thin Privilege (4 stars)

Thin Privilege - Thin Privilege

Superb use of bass ensures debut album is concise and venomous enough to effortlessly dodge cliché

(Struggletown Records)

Thin Privilege know what is best in life. And what is best in life is bass. These four young men eschew the pompous banality of the six-string in favour of a potent double shot of the more economical four. They’re not the first to employ twin basses: Girls Against Boys, Cop Shoot Cop, Pharaoh Sanders and Ned’s Atomic Dustbin have all recognised the truth of four strings good, eight strings better. Spinal Tap even went one (or four) better on the sonically superb (if lyrically repugnant) ‘Big Bottom’. What’s surprising is that, given it sounds so good, it’s not more common.

Comprising members of Billy Ray Osiris, Hunt/Gather, Friends in America and Salo, Thin Privilege are a largely Glasgow-based noise-rock outfit with hardcore touches and connections. Their debut album, released on lurid pinky-orange vinyl, is a thoroughly nasty piece of work, in the best possible way. Tracks such as ‘Hex Charmer’, with its dogged staccato riff and frenzied drool-spatter, or the chugging horror of ‘Leave the Body’ have an alarming, maniacal feel, the sound of someone burying intolerable memories through compulsive self-flagellation. ‘Red Cloak’ does this brilliantly, wrongfooting us with an almost danceable groove before mutating into something much more discordant, unsettling and rhythmically jarring. ‘Howl, Sleeper’ and ‘Perfunctory Blood’ run together into one vicious, spasmodic, barely-two-minute blast. ‘No Such Constellation’ is slower, less falling-down-a-hill-with-a-backpack-full-of-live-grenades, but its wild-eyed messiness and fuzzy corners make for a disturbing listen. Relatively lengthy closer ‘With Apologies to Thin Privilege’ is perhaps the peak, an intoxicating combination of utterly maddening repetition and surgically precise mathematical fury.

Despite – or more likely, because of – their self-imposed instrumental limitations, Thin Privilege’s concise, venomous and sublimely heavy debut is squirming with ideas. It effortlessly dodges cliché and, at under 30 minutes, refuses to sit still long enough to risk capture. True, politically sensitive listeners may be put off by the snarky, acerbic implications of the band name – but eight times out of ten, bass beats politics. Just ask Spinal Tap.


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