Two Nights With Satan - 300 St Claire (Conquest of Noise)
Yes, 300 St Claire were another of those noisy, intense and hard-as-a-cheap-pub-steak bands that were around in a crowded Sydney backyard at the cusp of the 2000s and never made a substantial mark anywhere else. They self-released an EP, gigged around and more or less fell off the radar before the decade was half-done.
My own memories include taking away tinnitus from a support they played to Asteroid B612 at the Iron Duke in Sydney one Friday night. By the time Johnny Casino and Co came on, the damage had been done, and every note The Big Fella played fell on ringing ears.
As is the way these days, 300 St Claire has reformed - to have fun and sink a few beers, the members will tell you - so now is a good time for their long, lost EP to resurface on Conquest of Noise, complete with extras. It’s every bit as bludgeoning as you’d expect.
The eight sharp and mostly short songs on “Two Nights With Satan” come from a couple of different studio sessions. There’s a live version of Bored!’s “Feed The Dog” from the Scott Barker Tribute show in 2015.
Like the Asteroids and the Powdermonkeys, of whom 300 St Claire were ardent admirers, this is not music you’ll hear on mainstream radio or as somebody’s ringtone. It’s lurching, grimy, a little ominous and nice and rough around the edges. Delicateness doesn’t get a look in. Fans of The Jesus Lizard would do well to cock an ear in their direction.
Mick Poole’s guitar bleeds all over the place on brooders like the opener, “Love and Blood” and the snowballing “The Motion Song”. In the surging “VD’s Revenge”, it cuts off the top of your head like a scalpel-happy surgeon on a Fentanyl bender.
Mark Horne’s asphalt-gruff vocal and steamroller bass brand the music as Blundstone Rock. Forceful but not sludgy. If you were around during grunge, you’ll know exactly what that means. Drummer Peter “Booges” Werth’s solid feels put the verdict beyond all reasonable doubt.
“Raisin Toast Or Eyebrows” narrowly misses out on Best Song Title to “12 Shits a Day”, but wins hands down as music to jackhammer by.
The original band was a power trio. Occasional member Jason Maijers has joined and adds a dense layer of second guitar on “Feed The Dog”. It’s not the tightest song these guys have put to tape but the sheets of blistering guitar and Horne’s growl make it a keeper, and a just a little Stooge-like. That’s a thumbs up from me!
You'll find a digital version of the EP here with the physical CD out in the next week.