If the pop world has that fusion monikered abomination of an idea for a quasi-rock band, McBusted, then you can rely on the metal underground's integrity and innovation to counter such pap with something infinitely more interesting and sincere. Look no further than Red Kunz, a sonically alluring alliance between two members of Red Fang (Aaron Beam and John Sherman) and Kunz's Louis Jucker and Luc Hess. This EP, 'Teeth, Hair & Skin' was, according to the accompanying blurb, born from a tale involving the Kunz duo meeting the Red Fang guys at an airport in Switzerland after they flew there straight after a performance on the Letterman Show back in their home country; a visit to a local cover bands festival; songwriting in a deserted venue; some partying (of course); beer and pizza; and eventually culminating in a live Red Kunz performance 5 weeks after the story commenced. Oh, and I guess they actually recorded some music somewhere in-between all that. And here it is, courtesy of Hummus Records.
Before I've even listened to this already intriguing EP, the packaging is somewhat unconventional, although also somewhat awesome (and awesomely surreal). With what initially looks like it'll be a piece of 7-inch vinyl (for that is the size of the package), housed within the clear plastic sleeve is the CD itself, in a cardboard slipcase, accompanied by what folds out into a tabloid sized newspaper. A newspaper? Yeah, that's right, a fucking 16 page newspaper of all things. Although, flicking through, I'm greeted with no text but a series of randomly bizarre images that look like unused props from the Sawyer household in 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre' (albeit these have been crafted from bits of tree; plastic cutlery; shells; cocktail sticks; springs etc, rather than body parts). EP credits are detailed on the final page so it's not all deranged. But I'm loving this EP before I've even heard a single bar of music!
Fortunately, the music itself is equally as amazing and inventive as the packaging. The stoner metal/rock of the former meets head-on and blends perfectly with the prog sludge of the latter. It's a sonic marriage made in heathen, and unholy sounding, down-tuned instruments combine to create a blended discordance that both consolidates and belies its stoner/sludge foundation with its varying tempos. Conversely, third track, 'Four Good Reasons', manages to retain a stoner/sludge vibe despite its up tempo, bass-driven onslaught, so the creative backbone of these compositions is palpable all the way through, despite divergences from said styles. Alternating between discordance and concordance throughout the five tracks (with the down-tempo finale edging way more towards dissonance), 'Teeth, Hair & Skin' is not always a comfortable listen but, at the same times, that's what makes it so intriguing. Full marks for the packaging and damn near full marks for the music. Music doesn't get much more organic and real than this.
TEETH, HAIR & SKIN
Review by Mark Holmes
15th August 2014
2) The Beggar
3) Four Good Reasons
5) Teeth, Hair & Skin
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"The stoner metal/rock of the former meets head-on and blends perfectly with the prog sludge of the latter. It's a sonic marriage made in heathen."