Northern art-rockers The Scaramanga Six release their new album Worthless Music on December 3rd. Returning to their self-owned Wrath Records imprint, it’s their tenth LP to date, and comes after a barrage of new singles: Horse With No Face, It Is The Face Wish How, An Error Occurred, and Big Ideas.
Handling every aspect of their brand in-house – from strange music videos, to press shoots, to the recording process itself – the Six are able to make an indelible mark on their music, and more so than most, thanks to the auteur’s self-reliance blessed unto founding member Paul Morricone.
“Back at the start of April we killed several birds with one stone whilst being together as a band for the first time in an eternity,” Morricone said. “We shot footage for four videos, did a quick photo session and finished the master of the album – all in a couple of days.” Morricone, a Yorkshireman who runs a production company and is a filmmaker by trade, certainly knows how to play up his music’s filmic angle – the band call it ‘cinematic punk’.
Together with brother Steven Morricone, and along with Julia Arnez and Gareth Champion, the Six’s newest output hears a much darker alt-rock sound than that of their past, emergent on the Huddersfield band scene. Coming up in the mid-90s English rock tradition trail blazed by the band Cardiacs (of whom the late founding member Tim Smith produced the last three of the Six’s albums), the last decade has seen them align with darker and headsier contemporaries, such as Ultrasound and The Magic Numbers, resulting in a much more challenging and structurally restless pronk sound.
Now, Worthless Music continues the climactic, infernal themes from their last album – 2015’s The Terrifying Dream – and is a tactical framing of art-rock chaos, congealing the everyday into a nightmare realm. Highlights include Ipso Facto – which somehow manages to, in its own words, “wax and wane” between furious bossa nova and hard rock – and Dog Form – which reconciles paranoid ideas of Stockholm syndrome and hybrid beasts with great beds of headbanging, punk delight. And, finally, let’s not forget It Is The Face Wish How, which combines half-time slow jam drum bangs, otherworldly vocal dronings, and colossal shreddage. Fans of Black Midi, Black Country New Road, Yves Tumor, and even the Pixies will be charmed by this modern monstrosity.
With visual influences straddling everything from David Lynch’s Eraserhead to 4AD’s Vaughan Oliver, the Six’s self-made videos are often grotesque and mad, and dripping with cultish confidence. Plans are afoot, in fact, for an ultimate hat-trick of music videos, which the band intends to release in the coming months. Aside from Horse With No Face, these include the aforementioned It Is The Face Wish How, in which the members’ faces are struck with a 360-degree death ray; An Error Occurred, a no-fluff punk performance from the nether reaches; and Big Ideas, a patchwork cacophony of art styles, and a self-described “different music video for every line”.
You can stream the album at https://soundcloud.com/the-scaramanga-six/sets/worthless-music/s-p1VqL45BAuD and watch the related video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9EWap0nj5Q
Brace yourself for Worthless Music on 3rd December.