Fuck Age Forever – The Sulkies
24:02 min • Independent • April 5, 2013
Walter Beck reviews
The first full length album from the Irish duo The Sulkies is truly a treat, mixing incendiary queer politics with a raw, primitive industrial sound, this is the sort of album guys like me dream of finding. Taking a cue from such bands as Suicide, Nervous Gender, and Throbbing Gristle, this duo has delivered quite a unique album full of rage and the fighting spirit that has kept us alive.
Opening with the brief ‘Pronouns’, a distorted thirty-six second a cappella chant that lays out the band’s personal and artistic philosophy,
Gender less, please.
Take us as we are.
Gender less, please.
Pronouns divide us –
The brief cut is taken to heart as their names aren’t listed and the photos included in the booklet are distorted or back shot, allowing them to exist without names, without gender, and to be judged solely on the sounds they produce on this album.
‘As Is’ is the first proper musical cut on the record, three minutes of grooving, distorted bass sounds that harken back to the New York duo Suicide. The vocals are shadowy and distorted as well, backed by walls of noise. It’s art that is buried in its own way, but it allows the brilliance to shine through even better.
The distortion and venom is upped with ‘Art is Free’, a contemporary anarchic artistic noise manifesto that clearly states out the band’s vision for art that is created not for money, not for fame, but simply for its own sake and purpose. The haunting, echoed vocals that clip through this two-minute number make it sound dangerous again.
‘Dress Without Fear’ is an indictment against Western society’s gender coded world, a plain lyrical assault on those who live and die by the roles laid for them, whether they like it or not. The track isn’t so much song as it is spoken in a broken, noisy manner, backed by the dark grooves of the band’s instruments.
The fifth cut, ‘Never Travel (With a Bad Feeling)’ brings forth a call to arms, a daring number asking people to walk without fear, to be proud of who you are and fuck everybody else. Fear is a killer and they lay it out directly,
So I won’t be scared and I’ll hitchhike
Because Fear of Everything
Is a death –
‘Words/Lines’ kicks off the second half of the album with a slowing, grinding wall of noise that harkens back to the primitive industrial of Throbbing Gristle. The thumping, hypnotic rhythm provides the perfect background for the noisy, nearly spoken vocal delivery.
‘I Am Anything’ brings a bit of a pop taste to the band’s violent, noisy sound, with its nearly pleasant tones cutting through the wall of sound, it highlights the necessity of the vocals even more brightly,
All you hear.
Are just things you’ve heard.
You never listen.
To my chosen words –
The ninth cut on the album ‘Inis’ is the band’s first instrumental and once again it harkens back to the original sounds of the Industrial Records label, a disturbing minute and a half exercise in sound and noise.
‘Fuck Age Forever’ is one of the highlights of this LP, a powerful punk rock battle cry coated in the signature gritty synthesizer sound of the band. The shaking, thumping rhythm is perfectly paired with an increasingly loud wall of sound that closes on,
You’re too young forever,
Too old forever.
And age is man-made,
So fuck age forever –
‘Respirator’ is the second instrumental on the album and much like ‘Inis’, it’s a minute or so of distorted sound. But the title is fitting as it gives the listener a brief moment to breathe, relax and take in the intensity of the rest of the album.
The LP comes to a close with ‘Ways to Be’, the closest thing to traditional song structure the band comes. The vocals are rhythmic, almost folky in their own way, and their distorted noise provides quite a hypnotic, almost soothing background to it. This is a cut the band could almost perform acoustically and it would still be amazing.
The Sulkies’ debut album is a masterpiece; a noisy, punk-influenced manifesto raising the middle finger to homophobes, sexists, and anybody who stands in the way of the individual. It’s old school anarchy, a 21st Century nod to the industrial masters of old, and a truly original creation.