Sutcliffe No More - Domestic [4iB Records - 2022]
Domestic is the debut album from Sutcliffe No More- the spin-off project/ next sonic step from those behind infamous-yet- often creatively distinct English PE project Sutcliffe Jügend. It’s a two-CD album, which brings together largely lulling & unease sound scaping with grimly dramatic spoken word storytelling- which focuses on the more troubling, disturbing, and bleaker side of human existence.
The release appears on Singapore-based 4iB records- it’s presented in the form of a six-panel mini monochrome gatefold. This features on its front cover picture of a black set statue of a horse been attacked by dogs- inside with murky crime scene diagrams & grim paintings. The set comes presented with both a lyric booklet and a handwritten text foldout. The album came in an edition of three hundred copies, and can be purchased directly from here.Roger Batty
For this release, we have Kevin Tomkins-Autoharp, Guitar, Vocals, Synthesizer [Analogue], Piano, Sampler, and Electronics. And Paul Taylor -Guitar, Synthesizer [Analogue], Sampler, Electronics. Each disc takes in six tracks- and these have runtimes between just under three minutes, and nearing fifteen. The sound here I guess is best described as psycho-ambient/ unsettling scoring, meets troubling storytelling- with Tomkins giving a grimly effective, at points decidedly harrowing vocal performance.
Disc one begins with “You Are The Mirror” which finds Tomkins's gruff whisper moving against a slowly serrating, and shrilly building drone hover. As we go we have the sour ambient slow-mo hover meets lightly seared tones and modified clunking key elements of “The Misery Of Loves Company” which finds Tomkins's detail a gone wrong love suicide. We have the discordant key plod meets swirling tone menace of “Imperfect Tragic” which details stalking rape, and its angered victim response.
Over on disc two we have the slow simmering harmonic string drift ‘n’ ebb of “The Day Before You Came( The Letter)” which musical is knee-deep in tragic foreboding, with the Tomkins dictating over the top the story of a female teen who is just about the have someone very dangerous enter her life. There is sour and malevolence autoharp hover ‘n’ swirl of “One Piece Missing” which finds Tomkins playing a man at the end of his teether, moving towards his own death. With the disc playing out with the eerier key tolling meets gloomy whirling tone shift of “Cozy Doll” with Tomkins gruffly intoning emotional tragedy and insanity, as he repeats the words ‘there is always dirt in my mouth in between his troubled rants
Domestic is far, far from being in any way easy or soothing listening- this is ambience or moody music at its most desperate, sweaty and unwell. Certainly not a release to play if you are in a personally troubled/ low state of mind- but if you're looking for a true submersion in the lulling grey and troubling, this double disc release will certainly do the job!.