What do you call a band from Ukraine that’s blowing American music out of the water? –Bichkraft. The four-piece, noise-punk band is on the up, slowly gaining recognition –playing throughout Ukraine and Russia. Their latest album, Shadoof is like a love-letter to the dissonant obsessed. If the same old distortion just isn’t doing it for you anymore, listen up –Bichkraft has something special in store.
First and foremost, allow me to humbly apologize for letting Bichkraft slide under my radar. Shadoof is the most exciting noise or industrial/punk album to release in a long time. Not only does the album draw upon a variety of influences, but the band performs excellently. Each of Shadoof’s tracks are remarkable –some scuzzy in that noisy way, some super alluring with complicated melodies. Bichkraft nails it time and time again.
The play by play! Shadoof begins with “Big Red Robe.” The track is packed with guitar effects that build a noise inspired, shoegaze-esque soundscape over the course of an introductory minute. The vocalist cries out in Ukranian –whether it’s just the language or style, it’s almost reminiscent of the (also Ukranian) band, Perkalaba. “Big Red Robe” is a decent enough way to kick things off, a fine song, the most accessible song –from here, Bichkraft just gets weirder. The second track, “Sleeves At Farewell,” is dizzying, with a variety of dissonant guitar lines, a percussion that sounds like a firing squad, and the howls of the vocalist. The track sounds like dementia. It’s almost overwhelming, “Sleeves At Farewell” will fill you with dread in the best way possible.
Across the next few tracks, Bichkraft’s eclectic style shows, but for the most part, the components remain the same. The guitars are always penetrating their way into your soul –delivering a musical atmosphere that’s unparalleled. The percussion is outright relentless. The vocals never fail to disappoint and often convey a certain feeling or emotion. Sadly, for the English speaking listeners, the content of the songs is lost but musical composition need not translation! Bichkraft’s style is superb and in particular, reminiscent of the old California punk band, Nervous Gender. Shadoof is eerie, intense, haunting, and noisy.
Bichkraft managed to pack Shadoof full of seven great songs, but “Stain of Rest” as well as “Fashion According to MacBeth” are something else. “Stain of Rest” begins with a percussive thump that signals for the guitars to begin building layer after layer of distorted, hypnotic guitar line. Eventually it all seems to synch up and then unravel into separate melodious patterns. The drums become faster, more aggressive, practically racing against the rest of the song. The vocalist tries to wiggle his way in. It’s a bit busy of a song but the way each layer of texture both clashes and feeds into the next is remarkable. On occasion, “Stain of Rest” gives a little bit of breathing room, the lines becomes easier to digest for a brief moment, then the song rebuilds. By the end, Bichkraft leaves you with a clamorous rock jam. Five minutes fly by and leave you in the wake of music. As if this wasn’t enough, “Fashion According to MacBeth” goes the extra mile and brings out some of the heavier sounds that Bichkraft has to produce. The track runs a little more coherently than its counterparts at first. The drums quickly tap out a steady rhythm and the guitars serenade you just before the snap! The vocalist works his way in and it all falls apart into a cacophony of strings and disarray. It’s dirty –it’s good.
Shadoof has at least one person sold, and frankly, if you’re a fan of noise or more industrial-influenced punk music, then you’ll more than likely buy into the sinister beauty that Bichkraft has to offer. With any luck, the band will permeate borders and gain some recognition. Shadoof is dark, heavy, hypnotic, dissonant, and a solid addition to any noise fanatic’s collection.