Irma Vep – No Handshake Blues (Faux Discs)

Genre – Post rock

Journeyman Edwin Stevens has never quite found his sound. He’s moonlighted in a number of different bands, without ever going far. After years of searching, Stevens has said Irma Vep is where he’s most comfortable. It’s the persona that allows him to make the music he wants to make.

Upon the release of this album, Irma Vep has been compared to the Velvet Underground, and with the opening track, and first single from the album, it’s not hard to see why. A Woman’s Work Is Never Done starts like a track from the Nico era of the influential New Yorkers, and for the first five minutes, fans will be in heaven.

Five minutes in, and things take a turn for the worse, as the song continues for another seven minutes. The initial Nico era feel is gone. What comes next is more Lou Reed circa 1975. Yes, Metal Machine Music, or as many know it, the feedback album.

As the album rolls on, it takes a ‘dememtor’ like appeal – it sucks all the happiness out of the world. Plod, No Handshake Blues and Armadillo Man are excruciatingly painful to listen to. There’s no direction. No feeling. Just noise, with mutterings disguised as vocals.

Lyrically this album is unimaginative, there’s far too much feedback and the sounds don’t seem to go anywhere.This is not an album that fans of the Velvet Underground will enjoy. It’s more likely to frustrate rather than excite.

Based solely on the first five minutes of the album’s opener, IRMA VEP has bags of talent and knows how to write a great song, the problem is ending it. In any great story, the punch line is key. This can be applied to music as well. Unless a song is truly mesmerising, there is no need to drag it out for 12 minutes. People lose focus and will hit the skip button in a second.

RUSHONROCK RATED – 3/10 Sparse songwriting that drifts into nothingness