Jaaw is an intriguing collaboration, bringing together a group of musicians that few people may have predicted hitting the studio together. The ‘super-group’ fronted by Therapy?’s veteran singer and guitarist Andy Cairns, joins Wayne Adams (Petbrick/ Big Lad), Jason Stoll (Mugstar / Sex Swing), and Adam Betts (Squarepusher / Goldie) in creating their debut record Supercluster (Svart Records) at Adam’s notorious Bear Bites Horse Studio in London.
Stylised as a post-Industrial project, it is clear to hear the influence from innovators of the sound such as Ministry and Godflesh, while there is clearly also a strong inspiration of punk throughout the record. ‘Thoughts and Prayers (Mean Nothing)’ kicks off Supercluster with a simple yet effective riff, with muddy-sounding vocals sitting deep into the mix, dropping into a crescendo of percussion before playing out in a finale of distorted feedback. The industrial punk vibe of the opener is also prominent on both ‘Hellbent on Happiness’ and closer ‘Army of Me’, which features a particularly memorable lead bass hook.
But it’s when the band strips their sound back into more of a downbeat vibe, that they provide their best work. ‘Reality Crash’ is slow and pondering with clanking industrial drums and a deep hypnotic guitar lead, while debut single ‘Rot’ provides the sound of a harsh and desolate Industrial landscape, leading the music into somewhat a Sci-Fi direction. This leads nicely into ‘Total Protonic Reversal’, with an experimental and drone-like intro, while ‘Bring Home the Motherlode Barry’ provides a verse that is buzzy and spacey, leading into a particularly psychedelic chorus. Jaaw then goes full lo-fi on ‘The Dead Drop’, with a long creaking synth intro that melts into a bubbling and sludgy bassline, building to a melodic vocal and intricate drumming, which sounds entirely off the cuff.
The record is heavily distorted throughout, with a crunching yet muddy tone to the guitars and bass, while the dual vocals of Cairns and Adams compliment the music without ever being overbearing. But what perhaps stands out most is the experimental nature of the percussion, a mix of live drumming and programmed electronica which is clearly inspired by many different forms of the art and is uniquely impressive throughout.
Buy the album here:
7 / 10