Little labels release all sorts of strange things and Already Dead have done so with the release of “Caterwaul” by Spelling Bee. This St Louis duo – Mabel Suen and Joseph Hess – rattle through these thematically similar songs with little regard for common sense, originality or melody. They are, in commercial terms, banging their heads off a brick wall but does that actually matter?
A good question and one that I shall answer. From “Cat Or Wall” through to “Stretch Marks”, Spelling Bee are nothing less than relentless with what initially seemed like a weakness – repetition – instead achieving a near hypnotic level of angst driven fury as crumbling drum patterns, disconnected guitars and something that sounded like a lost or stolen saxophone capturing your curiosity and simultaneously confusing you.
So, in many ways “Caterwaul” sounds like the kind of thing that two kids with no greater purpose in life than smoking crack and an indulging in some quality shoplifting would sound like if they remade the soundtrack to The Terminator. Big Arnie could fire this album up on his iPod, crank it up to the max and lay waste to Los Angeles. He might even smile while he is doing it.
The answer, in case you haven’t guessed, is…no it clearly doesn’t matter. Turn it up to 11 because we all have nowhere to go.
The album is available from Already Dead and Bandcamp. It's even available on vinyl.