Strap the Button - "What Kind of Rat Bastard Psychotic Would Play That Song Right Now at This Moment?" (Good Name for a Racehorse Records 2005)
Strap the Button - "Going to Jib Choons (Choons for Going to Jib to Live Innit") (2006)
From Aural Innovations #34 (August 2006)
Strange vibrations from this Welsh group who combine elements of Zappa-esque sound montage, kraut rock and the surrealistic humor of The Residents. For the most part, Strap the Button is truly unclassifiable, though some common points of reference, in addition to those just mentioned, might include Faust, Neu, Etron Fou and Captain Beefheart. Both of these CDs are wildly eclectic, perhaps because Strap the Button fuses musical genres in such an arbitrary way that it's difficult to get an accurate fix on just where the group's allegiance lies. The group uses a myriad of samples and loops in combination with synthesizers, various keyboards, guitar, bass and drums in order to produce a rather unorthodox aural experience, though the sonic cacophony of both Faust and The Residents comes about as close to an accurate analogy as you'll get when trying to describe Strap the Button.
The extended tracks on What Kind of Rat Bastard Psychotic…? show the group at their most experimental, while Going to Jib Choons… (and, no, I have no idea what a Jib or a Choon is) features, comparatively speaking, shorter and more "song-oriented" material, some of which could almost be described as quasi-pop, though with a decidedly punky edge at times. "Machines," for instance, from Going to Jib Choons… sounds like an impromptu meeting of Kraftwerk and Throbbing Gristle at a Dusseldorf oil refinery. On the other hand, "Stay Still, I'll Get the Camera" (also from Going to Jib Choons…) could've been a track on Wire's Chairs Missing or Pink Flag. Several of the longer pieces on What Kind of Rat-Bastard Psychotic…? are collages of sound and noise and seem to be the true métier of this group. "The Fully Grown Giant Otter Cannot Be Killed," one of the disc's stand out tracks, merges electronics and frenetic guitar into what might aptly be called ambient punk. The same can be said for several of the other songs on What Kind of Rat-Bastard Psycotic…? Neither CD is particularly easy to digest, but both have surprises and rewards for the patient listener who's willing to hear with an open ear.
For more information you can visit the Strap the Button web site at: http://www.myspace.com/strapthebutton.
Visit the Good Name for a Racehorse Records web site at: http://www.goodnameforaracehorse.co.uk.
Reviewed by Charles Van de Kree