Depeche Choad are a curious rock outfit from Aberdeen, Scotland. A lot of what they do is tongue in cheek, like when they say they come “all the way from the slums of Spearfish, South Dakota”. The fictitious band biography goes as far to say they’re “a Canadian rock band formed in 1995 in Hanna, Alberta. The band is composed of four brothers: lead vocalist Choad Kroeger, bassist Tommy Günnar, guitarist Choady Rhodes and drummer Nob Geldof”.
Anyway, having seen them live in the flesh, they consist of vocalist/keyboardist/occasional cowbell plus guitarist, bassist, and drummer. They’re hard to pigeonhole directly but it’s a mixture of rock, punk and, in terms of comedic approach, Faith No More side project Mr Bungle.
They released their EP Pain After Sex recently on February 26. All music and lyrics are by the lads from Aberdeen, and it was recorded by Craig Henderson, while the distinctive and unusually sexually explicit artwork was conceived by Polly Bound.
The opening track, “Seminal Plasma Hypersensitivity”, begins with a wall of keyboards, evoking man’s leap into the unknown, like launching into space for the first time. The opening lyrical gambit paints a picture or four. When the band comes in, the bass rings with a clarity that Steve Harris of Iron Maiden would be proud of. There’s a mournful lead line, the pain of sexual misdeeds conveyed in melody.
“Seminal Plasma Hypersensitivity (Japanese Jason Remix)” takes the musical theme of the previous track and moulds it into something that spans a few genres, including a hybrid of Fifties rock and twelve bar blues. The tempo doesn’t have a crawling ring as much as before, instead opting for a speedy delivery. It does however slow near the conclusion, an almost doomy affair/
Then “Hypersensibilité du Plasma Seminal” begins, again, with a wall of keyboards, evoking, with the man with a funny accent, more of the comedy side of the band. When the band comes in, the bass rings, punctuating the croaking and sleazy vocals. Plaudits to the guys for the very convincing accents, that’s for sure. The phrasing, despite the translations, never seems to miss a beat, and always falls neat.
The EP closes with “Hypersensibilité du Plasma Seminal (Japonais Jason Remix)”. A Japanese signature guitar lick can be heard from the start, before the chugging Fifties rock commences. Again, some of the lyrics, packing in as many words and syllables in a bar as possible, comes out faultless. Some tidy bass licks are snuck in below the general mix of the song. The conclusion, again, gets slow, heavy and doomy, before concluding with the aforementioned Japanese signature guitar lick.
The EP does much to make the listener laugh. It’s also very experimental and, daresay, progressive. The keyboards add that little bit more atmosphere, an element perhaps neglected and, perhaps, deliberately eschewed by bands in similar genres. You could never claim the band to have the individual attributes of a super group in the mould of, say, Cream, but that’s besides the point. The collective sum of their parts makes them a tight and, yes, talented band. Sometimes the beauty is in the simplicity, and how it’s deployed. The Japanese signature guitar lick, and its placement in the right places, for example.
Depeche Choad, with this bombardment of comedy, sex and howls of pain, has established its own identity. There’s the right mix of slow burning atmosphere and rocking immediacy. Even the sheer shock value of its lyrical content would prick the ears of many, their curiosity leading them in and, then, the musical value would unveil itself to all. Depeche Choad’s Pain After Sex can be streamed and purchased at BandCamp here.
Words by Andrew Watson