I get a real kick not only out of reviewing a band from the UK, but also a band that are from the city I hold very dear. Irk are a Noise Rock trio from the bastion of Yorkshire, Leeds. It will never be the most commercial genre, but there is a lot about Irk that is worthy of note, and to show exactly what they’re all about, they have served up their self-released crowdfunded debut album, Recipes From The Bible.
On first impression, there is a surprising amount of twists and turns to the album: I was just expecting a wall of sound with a bunch of discordant screams over the top, but I’ll let the band themselves describe their sound, take a breath and…..”we are three polite rascals….who make angular, noise fused, Math Rock, consisting of drums, bass and vocals”.
The first half of the album is chock full angular riffs and choppy rhythms. The lack of a guitar player also doesn’t really become a factor as each track plays out with varied time signatures and flavours. The bass-heavy sound is complemented perfectly by the, at times, outstanding drum work.
‘I Bleed Horses’ bolts right out of the gates with an unhinged scream and you are met with a barrage of drums that sound like the drummer could lose complete control at any point and fall off his stool. Then there’s that bass sound, which really becomes the signature of the entire album. It’s so locked in with the drums that the whole thing begins to feel like a tightly wound spring. ‘Life Changing Porno’ (a fantastic song title by the way) continues in the same vein, but here you really notice just how off-kilter this band can get it sounds unfocused and rambling but just fucking works so well. The production and the way it is mixed I think has a lot to do with this. It wasn’t surprised when I saw the band did it all themselves as they probably know how best to harness the fury and unbridled rage within the songs.
As the album progresses there is somewhat of turning point where Irk begin to introduce new elements to the songs. ‘The Observatory’ is a stark, bleak and unnerving change of pace where the bass has an ominous presence throughout; it really harkens back to what Nirvana were doing on the Bleach (Sub pop) album back in the day. ‘Insect Worship’ ups the ante even more, and shows just where this band could go. These two tracks are the real sweet spot when looking at the album and I would love to see where Irk could take this style of song writing.
Irk absolutely bring a lot to the table both in terms of intensity and variation in their writing. At times the more Math Rock side of things can wear a bit thin, but when they morph into a more dangerous proposition, they become much more fully formed and, thus, could become a serious force to be reckoned with in the underground scene.
6.5 / 10