Songs About Insects - St Morris Sinners (Off The Hip)
The St Morris Sinners must have had a lot of fun recording this. They’re one of those bands who, like the Butthole Surfers on their first 12”, have released a disc so uniquely different you could be fooled into thinking you’re listening to several bands. That’s a good thing, of course, because it implies that there’s a broader palette just waiting to be applied.
It’s rated five bottles, although depending on your taste, you’ll likely be putting this one into the obsolete technology in 20 years. ‘Songs about Insects’ is a big restless, itchy slab of mucky stuff and St Morris Sinners have a narky, deceptive approach all their own.
“Baby Pupa”, for example, sounds like the end of an album, with a ferocious sonic yowl introduction which then simmers down into a thuggish rut. Stephen Johnson’s vocals are initially a bit disconcerting (almost a recitation) but then shifts … “Baby Pupa” is a tense, nasty thing, stretching us out on the rack of a sun-baked narrative.
“Tall Pupa Syndrome”, “Praying Mantis Sally”, “Keith the Leech”… there’s a wet Mississippi swamp feel to these songs, which are somewhere between songs and something else. “B.F.B.F” sounds like a metalhead chimp escaped from a private zoo and headed straight for the mall.
There’s this rich, twitching landscape about St Morris Sinners - you know how you can point to a band’s first record and spot-the-influence..? Well, these blokes have developed a sound and an idiom all their own… and they have a pretty dedicated crew who turn up just to see Johnson’s capering, unpredictable performances.
If you live in Adelaide, you should be embarrassed not to own “Songs about Insects”. If you don’t, you should contact the band and bring them to your town. Seeing is believing.