I think it’s a clever name, seriously. “A daft pun maketh a memorable band name” or something. Ice, Sea, Dead People are three dudes from London (formerly Bedford) who see speed as something of a necessity in their music. ‘Teeth Union’ is 24 minutes of breathless, exhausting rock music that staggers between a mess of snotty punk and abrasive post-hardcore.
It’s quite a shambles really, but in a good way. The production is noteworthy for its scrappy, dishevelled demeanour. In some ways it reminds me of the first Bronx record. The old, “yeah three takes lads, then fuck it if we mess up, that’s rock ‘n roll.” Not that you would notice any mistakes in that record or indeed in ‘Teeth Union’; because these then become part of the songs – this is how it was meant to be played – how this kind of audible chaos should sound.
‘Teeth Union’ opens with ‘I’m Cat’; 2 and a half minutes of jerking, Les Savy Fav-style rock that judders with a swift, stabbing motion, like Patrick Bateman going knife happy on yet another unfortunate prostitute. It scrawls and writhes with that de-tuned hum of aggravation. Guitars are chewed into a splatter of broken chords, whilst the sparse vocals are centered on incoherent shouts and the noise you make when someone says something monumentally stupid. It’s like 3 punks all playing different parts of the same song, but at varying speeds.
Despite the frantic nature of ‘Laser Brain’ the vocals are distinctly hollow, opting for a monotone robotic slur that is then buried beneath a furrow of jangled static and crashing percussion. “I want to be in the wallpaper so I can hug the room” utters Ice, Sea, Dead People, their throwaway; almost lazy remarks are blown apart by an ear shredding scream and a barrage of bass-driven noise rock.
“I’ve got, sugar in my hair! I’ve got sugar in my hair! I’ve got sugar in my hhhhhhaaaaaiiirrrr” wails the dual vocals of bassist Jamie and guitarist Craig, who I assume are attempting to make even the lyrics of The Blood Brothers sound vaguely normal on ‘My Twin Brother’s A Brother’. It’s a track which bounces with pop-punk delight chorus-wise, which is then offset by the pounding, bass-thick heavy dirge that make up the rest of this 3-minute stomp.
‘Grean Tee’ sounds like it’s been recorded inside several biscuit tins, whilst the band tries valiantly to fight off a swarm of wasps by throwing their instruments at the little yellow and black-striped bastards. It regains a sense of intimidating urgency at the halfway mark, contorting with angular frustration and a snotty sense of arrogance.
‘Justin Klein’ is like The Ramones crossed with Q And Not U – pent up punk rock rage, channelled through stark, yet danceable melodies, led by a sinister bass line that rumbles alongside the dual vocal shouts, commenting on Mr Klein’s make-up techniques.
It’s hard not to crack a smile during ‘Brrrrr’; a track that starts with a familiar bass grind (‘Ex-Nuns/Dead Dogs’ by Some Girls anyone?), which is filled with the sound of the track being sped up and forced through a grinder; with all three members of Ice, Sea, Dead People valiantly trying to be heard through the squealing din of their instruments slowly coming apart. ‘Hence: Elvis’ is a familiar sound; clocking in at just over 2 minutes, it’s a spluttering force of punk rock that staggers between art-rock pretension and the slovenly nature of ramshackle and decay.
‘Satan/Japan’ is to begin with, a brief respite, taking on the form of an improvised jam, with what sounds like Justin Pearson of The Locust spitting words into a microphone. The buzz-saw of the bass around the 2 minute mark teases the listener into thinking that yet another explosion of noise will punch through, only for it to dip back into the stop-start jam session once more.
The merciless unclean squeal of the guitars, the fuzzed-out, distorted bass drone and the flamboyant drum rolls make up ‘Until We Break Our Legs’, a closer that is submerged beneath a haze of rasping noise and a cacophony of mangled notes – what vocals that are present seem lost or disregarded near the finish, despite the valiant effort to make themselves heard.
It’s rare that you hear something that sounds so apathetic yet so relentlessly frenetic. ‘Teeth Union‘ by Ice, Sea, Dead People is a kind of punk see-saw, endlessly rocking between listlessness and spontaneous acerbic energy, pumped to breaking point.
For those feeling a bit talented, the band have made the video for ‘Grean Tee‘ and have asked fans to do a snazzy background/do whatever you want to it. Bonza. See their site for details on how to obtain the free download.
By Ross Macdonald