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Dean Spunt & John Wiese: The Echoing Shell

The pair combine for what is turbulence on tape.

We all have those weeks where nothing goes right. Even the birds in the trees are telling you to get fucked. The burden of the daily grind squeezing your mind like an industrial vice. Your head, filled with turbulence and on the verge on existential chaos.

Enter Dean Spunt and John Wiese. The former, better known as one half of No Age, while Wiese has risen to prominence over the years via his solo work and his involvement in Sissy Spacek. The two combine for their first full-length collaborative album, The Echoing Shell – an album filled with the aforementioned turbulence, making it a timely arrival in this broad-church of insanity.

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Sounding neither like the shoegaze punk of No Age or the genre-hopping explorations of Sissy Spacek, on The Echoing Shell Spunt, while no stranger to experimentalism (underlined by his 2018 solo debut, EE), is dragged into the vortex of Wiese’s serrated world of noise. A world that highlights panic attack dread.  

Dean Spunt & John Wiese - The Echoing Shell

Consisting of two lengthy slabs of acerbic noise, Fruit From Color Vapor and Black Fruit, The Echoing Shell is basically the sound of that tumultuous week. Hell on earth with a series of fractured bleeps, heartburn dissonance and guardrail-scraping noise likened to Wolf Eyes completely losing the plot. In many ways it takes the origins of punk and hardcore and throws them into the meat grinder.  

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It won’t be something that consistently occupies the turntable platter, however in that time of need, when you’re in the blast zone of something, The Echoing Shell captures the chaos as good as anything out there. This reason alone makes it essential.

It’s the sound of anxiety shifting to the front of the mind, and through their shared love for punk and hardcore, what Spunt and Wiese have achieved on The Echoing Shell is something akin to sound vomit on tape.

The Echoing Shell is out now via Drag City. Purchase here.

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

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