This is probably the best UK metal release of the year.
Containing personnel from The Wildhearts, Napalm Death and The Cardiacs, this brings together the various elements in a way that borders on magical. The sheer weirdness contained here is a revelation and a wakeup call. While we may love our cousins across the puddle, we’ve got our own thing going on here, and Error 500 is a UK experience of the highest order. It also introduces Ginger Wildheart to a new audience of listeners.
Ginger Wildheart is a bit of an icon. There are few musicians he hasn’t played with and he’s kept going through thick and thin, whilst remaining something of an underground icon. I never really got the Wildhearts, and although there is a very little ‘Wildhearts’ musically on Error 500, what we do get is the wide-eyed energy without the macho (American) posturing common to a lot of heavy music.
Mark E Smith
Fans of The Cardiacs will love the hyper rhythmic passages and pirouette-on-a-penny time changes and blast ahead whimsy. With its harmonised psychedelic vocals and staccato beats Error 500 is already the stuff of legend before we get The Fall’s Mark E Smith chiming in with his angry Northern Bee vocals, at which point the record becomes essential listening to any fan of music.
On the strength of ‘Relentless Confliction’ alone this release is well worth its price and marks a high point in cross-generational English music. Opening with a Crass-like barrage of martial drums, the guitars surge with a mad syncopated style reminiscent of the mid-period Cardiacs music that Jon Poole was so famous for, before the song opens out in a mad anthem to god knows what.
In some way this record feels like a ‘rage against the light’ homage to the The Cardiacs’ poorly Tim Smith, there are so many nods to that iconic musician’s work on Error 500 that one hopes he gets better soon if only so that we might have another Cardiacs tour.
It is to be heartily wished that this album by the children of Thatcher’s social awakening makes enough that they make another, but in the meantime we have this blessed masterpiece of originality and odes to weird Albion.
Out now via Ipecac