Subject Number is available to pre-order from:
4th August, 2014
℗ 2014 Bi:Lingual
PRODUCED, MIXED AND MASTERED BY:
Jamie “Jampott” Donnelly
Jamie “Jampot” Donnelly and Kurtis Brudenell
Rock, Hip-Hop, Rap.
Incorporating elements of early-career Rage Against the Machine, The Streets, Plan B and Beastie Boys- together with lyrics that highlight a very relevant modern-day problem- you should embrace and follow Bi:Lingual. Subject Number is the sound of angry young men trying to change the world: their Rap/Hip-Hop-cum-Rock rush is one of the most essential cuts of 2014.
WHEN it comes to daring in music, there are
not too many that takes real risks. In new music, there is a certain degree of adventurousness- bands and acts mix genres and different sounds together. As far as I can see, there are limits and confines: even those that broaden their horizons have an air of predictability to them. I love all that new music has to offer up: the new sounds and opinions; great songs that come from nowhere; beautiful and tender songs- everything in-between. One of the problems- when it comes to being pioneering- is the amount of risk involved: if you mingle sounds without too much consideration, you risk spoiling your music. I have seen so many different acts merge disparate and diverse genres: Rock and Soul are lazily put together; Indie and Grunge are fused- with little regard for consistency and coherence- few manage to successfully pull this feat off. When an act does manage to provide daring and unexpected sonic treats, it makes the music that much stronger- taking your mind from the predictable; putting it somewhere quite fantastic. As much as I have mentioned the necessity of hard-edged music- Rock, Indie, Grunge etc.- I have probably heard most combinations, formations and avenues- there is fantastic music to be found, yet little shock or huge originality. I feel that more bands and acts should be broadening their horizons; stretching their ambitions and offering up something truly unique and daring. Before I introduce my featured act, they raise a valid subject: Rock and Rap. Balkanized and distant cousins, the two rarely come together: they hang in different crowds and share different personalities. When musicians have conjoined the genres, the results have often been quite calamitous. Often the rapping is ineffectual and plain embarrassing; the Rock element distilled and vague- I struggle to find too many artists that have successfully combined the two. In the past there have been acts that have achieved this mean feat- I shall mention them in more detail later- yet modern-day acts fail to confound and stand out. It seems like such a shame really: so many new artists have a timidity and risklessness; meaning new music very much has limitations and boundaries. Those that push beyond these- step away from what is ‘expected’- some magic and fascination can be unearthed. I have another point to raise, but before I do, let me introduce you to my featured act:
“Bi:Lingual. The name says it all. Two cultures, one unorthodox language. We’ve seen the failures of rock and rap colliding in an ill-aesthetic form, but nothing succeeds like this. The front mans Afro brings more than a sense of style to the scruffs of the band, it brings a sense of security to the rap that forebodes. Baring witness to the waves of locks that behead the multi-talented rhythm section scream out we’re loud, we’re angry and the apathy we hold towards those who hate, presents the idealistic irrationality of them against the world. And Bi:Lingual are just that. A pure source to be reckoned with. Untainted and unashamed. They are what they are, and if you don’t like it you can go suck a dick. Penniless but not hopeless they’re here to stay whether you like it or not. But chances are when that kick drum, heavily fuzzed bass and guitar kick in to the pop orientated but ear drum shattering chorus, that Bilingual have made their trademark, your dick and your brain will blow, and swell, and vibrate to the point that an unconscious rattle in your head protrudes to a steady head bop that simply cannot be controlled. You are drawn in and intoxicated, and take my word for it, in a world so ugly, that’s what we need.“
The angry young men have a lot of seething rage inside- they do make valid points. Aside from warnings of penile explosions; among the pseudo-philosophy; next to the oral sex invitations- their biography gives a glimpse into some pretty special musicians. It brings me to my second point: sonic innovation. Bi:Lingual have a degree of pent-up rage; they are innovators of the pretty reckless; they dare to be different and provide music not often heard- they are to be commended on this fact. Rebelling against those that offer hate and detachment, the boys have hit upon a sound that is perfect for these times: in a world that is getting less pretty with each day- their brand of scintillating and heady music is just what we need. There are plenty of acts and artists that can give you something beautiful and tender; those that have a melodious and well-considered approach to songwriting- sometimes what you need is something urgent, direct and utterly addictive. That seems to be missing a lot from the current scene- new bands are artists seem to lacking that necessary clout. Every Indie and Rock band that comes through shows a degree of rawness and primal passion; their songs project a modicum of violence- few remain in the memory in that particular sense. Grunge acts perhaps do it a little better; they can enforce some dominance and rage into their agenda- too many go straight for the jugular without thinking about the overall sound. What makes Bi:Lingual so impressive is the fact that expertly blend Rap and Rock: succeeding where others have failed, the boys summon up the edge and danger of Rap with the popularity and traditions of Rock- blended in their own inimitable way, their music is something you would not have heard too often. What makes them such a tantalising proposition- aside from their daring- is the amount of layers and flavours they put into their songs. They do not simply lump some Rap vocals over striking and stirring riffs- hoping that this will be enough to differentiate themselves from the masses. You can tell that intelligence, study and authority mandates their music: they have a clear love of past masters (of Rap and Rock); seamlessly fusing myriad sounds into their boiling pot- they have made sure that what they give to the public is of the highest order. The band’s lack of homogenization works in their favour: so many current acts do not mix cultures, nationalities and races- a lack of diversity enforces their make-up. Bi:Lingual mix languages in a very different way: musical languages that are never usually united in harmony. Clandestine and nervous, the group win you over due to the depth of their sounds; the ambition and sheer force that they provide- you just know how honestly they want to win you over. Before I progress, it is worth noting their business plan: the necessity to rally against the apathetic. Whether speaking politically- or musically- there is too much shoulder-shrugging and non-committal mutterings among the young: my generation seem happy to watch from a concrete balustrade as the world passes them by- when the time comes for them to stand up and take action, they do nothing. This can be applied to music too: few are willing to embrace unexpected and daring sounds; connect with politicised and spiking messages- more contended to embrace something less heady and oppressive. Whilst this natural instinct is coded in our D.N.A.; if you are unwilling to flee rather than commit- you miss out on some truly terrific music. Bi:Lingual are proponents of a new form of sound: something that is guaranteed to get your body moving; puts messages and truths into your skull- leave you feeling very different about yourself and music itself.
A lot of readers are probably new discoverers of Bi:Lingual- unaware of their past work and where they came from. For a fuller and more rounded experience of the band, it is worth looking back and hearing where they came from. Their debut E.P. came about in April, 2013. Entitled Do Misa, it was a quartet of tracks that showcased how strong the band were- right from the off. Such a tremendous mix of sounds and styles mingle over the four songs. Delilah has Pixie-esque backing strings; a ’80s/’90s Grunge/Indie mood lingers behind; guitar riffs arrive to explode and overwhelm- the percussion starts softer before becoming enraptured and devilish. At the forefront is a vocal expounding a love that cannot be broken: seeking Delilah, she seems to have fled and run away- our hero wants to capture her and bring her back. Menace and anger lurk with something more restrained: the projection is quick-fire but never demented (or lacking control). Showcasing the band’s signature blend of quiet and loud, it is a song that lodges in your head- an early classic. Songs such as The Scene and Zoology expand on this and offer up some new flair and fascination- the band inject more raucousness along these numbers; keeping alive a firm and contrite sense of measure and musicianship. The compositions are just as developed and alive; capable of seducing listeners with the faintest of notes. Growing Pains sees more primal lust and pound: the riffs are more demonic and intent; the vocal more direct and insistent- possibly the closest song that one can compare with Subject Number. On an E.P. that highlighted many sides and emotions, the band hit the ground running- it is a deep and compelling work that proffered a band with a clear ambition. Most acts would present a debut that was held-back and muted- the boys waste no time in separating themselves aside from the pack. A few short months later (in August), Doppelganger was unleashed. This brief interlude would suggest that a few half-decent tracks would be unfurled- the E.P. contains six quite brilliant numbers. Spiderwebs has crunchy and bouncing underpinnings; catchy riffs that have an air of Nirvana- the vocals tumble and rush forth. Investigating such topics as talent shows and the people who win them; the band wonder what the point is- what are they actually worth? With a chanted and bolstered vocal, it is endlessly gripping and intent. The band showcase their lyrical flair and inventiveness: weaving lines with a breathless pace; presenting topics that are relevant and true- tied to compositions that is endlessly fascinating. The E.P.’s title track sees Blues-Rock crunch come in- with some Jack White and Jimi Hendrix coming to the fore- as the band whip up a firestorm. The lyrics see dormant volcanoes, rivers of excrement and tension a plenty- the vocals see our hero forced to survive; impress the critics; survive vehicular carnage. Delivered like a sermon, the pace and passion of the delivery builds on their debut work- the band increase their confidence and sense of urgency. Some of Eminem’s venom and sound come out in the backing vocals- polydactyl and primeval psychedelic give the song a lustful and ’60s feel. Pluto is more low-down and rumbling; with some primitive anger it blends soft and loud; rage and temporized measure conspire- the track is one of the most interesting cuts on Doppelganger. Although Do Misa is an emphatic and stunning debut, their follow-up built up and cemented the band’s sound: the ambition and range grew; the songs more detailed and layered. Although there was no need for a huge sonic leap, songs like Spiderwebs compel you to listen over and over- elements of The Streets breathe in the frantic and mesmerising delivery. Given that Subject Number is a more brutal and attacking piece, some people may think that the band offer nothing but this. Their E.P.s show their full potential: tuneful jams and Blues-Rock swing are as synonymous as pulverising and demonised rushes- there is such a lot to be discovered; they appeal to all listeners. The biggest development- from last year’s output- is the sense of passion and directness- their latest cut is the most direct and impassioned number they have ever turned in. I would thoroughly recommend you check out Bi:Lingual’s back catalogue- there is so much pleasure and quality to be found. The last year has seen the boys look out on the world and events unfolding- the way they deliver Subject Number is imbued with as much anger and dissatisfaction as I have heard (from them). Any future E.P.s or album is likely to see similar tracks pervade; as the group have proved, there will be plenty of colour and light among the darker moments.
It is hard to draw too many comparisons when thinking of Bi:Lingual- the boys have such a unique flair and sound that it would do them a disservice. That said, they have some influences- intentional or not- that can be extrapolated from their music. One of the less obvious sources of inspiration is The Mars Volta. The Texan Prog.-Rock band mix Hispanic and Latin-influenced sounds with harder and more squalling Rock- works like Frances the Mute are spellbinding. Our boys put me in mind of The Mars Volta (and that album): they provide a heady thrill-ride; there is no pomposity or over-indulgence- instead it is nerve-shredding and primal; combining Hip-Hop and Classic-Rock, it is a cornucopia of music. Bi:Lingual have similar qualities and embers: their music sound like blueprints for live shows; that raw and open sound enforces their music’s directness- the songs reveal themselves across multiple listens and investigations. Our boys provide visceral moments and some degree of absurdity; impressive ambition as well as human emotion and beauty- very much like The Mars Volta. The Texas band are masters of confounding the mind and bamboozling the sense- their dizzying array of sounds and intentions overcome the senses. Bi:Lingual have a comparable gift and weight to them- their latest offering shows just how intense and gripping they can sound. A lot of commentators have compared the band to Beastie Boys– fair given that the two share some similar skin. Although our lads perhaps offer more spit and overt rage- than the U.S. legends- there are plenty of similar aspects one can draw. Beastie Boys probably hits their peak in the mid-late period of the ’90s: albums such as Hello Nasty certainly seduced critics. That album is probably the best starting-point when it comes to comparing Bi:Lingual. Our lads provide enough party and sense of celebration to put you in the mind (of that album’s mood)- there is festival and joy to be heard in their music. A veritable feast of sounds, the album mixes Lounge, Hip-Hop and free-spirit (of ’60s Psychedelia)- Bi:Lingual appropriate this sense of ambition and luster. Their melange of sounds never rest or relent- they display the same clear sense of daring and experimentation. The vocal performances (of our lads) perhaps contain some of the New York giants: that unique delivery and fascinating tonal regard is showcased in tracks like Spiderwebs. The anger and impassioned belt that comes through in Sabotage and Root Down rally and scream- sleaze and filth lies down in the cracks of the album. Beastie Boys mixed subjects like marriage, religion, corporate slackdom and modern-life communities; swirled it around samples, myriad genres and stunning ambition- to create wonderful results. Bi:Lingual have a clear and comparable gift that has already been highlighted- sure to be found on future releases. Another U.S. source of influence is Rage Against the Machine. Possibly the most obvious comparison; Bi:Lingual invoke a lot of Zack de la Rocha’s venom and insane vocal bite. The Rap-Metal band’s self-titled debut was such a terrific work because of the band relationships. With peers and contemporaries trying to match the band’s majesty and grandeur- and failing- the sympatico and bond between del la Roucha and Tom Morello (the band guitarist) is key- delivered by suburban white boys that had as much conviction as any of Rap’s most notable forerunners. The rebelliousness and emotionally-charged candour that was abound in R.A.T.M. can be compared to Bi:Lingual’s current movements- Subject Number marries Wake Up, Killing in the Name and Take the Power Back. Back in 1992- as of now- few acts were capable of fusing intelligent and meaningful lyrics with fiery and combustible compositions- our boys have a similar essentialness and towering muscle and grit. The way Rage’ expertly tie Rap, Metal and ’80s Hip-Hop together made their debut- and subsequent records- so fascinating and full. Bi:Lingual manage to summon the same emotions and conviction in their work- it will be fascinating to see if an album of theirs can match the heights of Rage Against the Machine. The final American comparable goes to Jimi Hendrix. In a few of the songs- across Doppelganger and Do Misa, the band unleash furious and psychedelic guitar riffs- putting you in mind of Hendrix’s finest work. Although not on the same rarefied plateau, there is an essence of the guitar master: the innate need to infuse the guitar with as much lustful brilliance and ragged and raw sexuality (comes out in Bi:Lingual’s music). Our band have a great ear for the terrific guitar sounds of the ’60s and ’70s- they can incorporate elements of Hendrix and his insatiable appetite for sonic danger. The last two influences I will mention are Plan B and The Streets. Two British Rap/Hip-Hop acts, the intrepid newcomers manage to tangle the street scenes and social commentary of both acts; the range and diversity of their music- adapt it for their own means and ambitions. As well as Ill Communication being a source of inspiration (for our lads), Ill Manors comes to mind. Plan B’s latest disc, it was the soundtrack for disaffected and impoverished youth: talking about the poor and needy; the kids on the streets- the danger and sense of anger that lurked in the minds of many. Politicised and potent, the album is purposeful, solid and a modern-day milestone: a relevant and pertinent sound of modern life Britain. Bi:Lingual have the ear trained to the streets: they know just how much of a struggle life is- how hard it can be to make your name and mark heard. Too many kids and musicians get hand-outs from talent shows; made fat with ill-deserved fame- too many people have to fend for themselves on dangerous streets. Sensing how much displeasure and disgust there is, our lads distill this into their music- soundtrack the voices of modern youth; add in political messages and their own spiked mandates- to score sounds that equal the potency and direction of Ben Drew. There is bleakness, obscenity and fear in Plan B’s vocals- he explores avenues other rappers are scared to tread. Bi:Lingual have a comparable braveness and fearless intent: they can inject foul-mouthed anger with intelligent and relevant codas; project appropriate panic and grime into the palette- wrapped up in brilliant hooks and diverse sonic soundscapes. The Streets is another name that comes to the mind. Original Pirate Material (his emphatic and eponymous debut) looked at being skint; eating chips and getting drunk- it was an album made genuine by someone who has been in that position- and experienced a harsh life. Mike Skinner blends humour and wit with social commentary and pugnacious prophecy: Bi:Lingual have a terrific ear for good-natured humour and unique phrasing- making Garage elements fresh and rejuvenated. Whereas Eminem projects his wit with a degree of insanity, The Streets place observance and truth above all else- the debut cut was rife with poetry, hard-hitting honest and free-association rapping. Few contemporaries convincingly update Skinner’s voice; keep that torch burning- ensure that 2014 Britain has relevant and important heroes. Bi:Lingual- alongside artists such as Kate Tempest- are deserving of equal acclaim: their movements suggest bold and creative voices that are in tune with the needs and pains of this generation- able to translate their pain and suffering into brilliant music. The urgency and conviction the likes of The Streets and Plan B utter is infectious and unforgettable: Bi:Lingual understand the world today- and the hardships faced- able to evoke this in their brilliant songs. Having given you a sense of where our boys come from- who inspire their mind- what their ambitions are- I better get down to reviewing Subject Number.
The song begins in a blitz of obscurantism; darkened in flagrante delicto as our frontman lets his words spit with fury and venom. It is said that “Pissing is a business“: surveying people who advertise their pictures, the hero is ignoring the “viciousness“- right from the off you are not allowed breath or any chance for surveyance. Signs of early-career The Streets and Plan B come to mind- particularly the latter- with that same direct and pleasing tone; authoritative and striking words- the band are laying down the law and making their intentions known. Perhaps aimed at the hollowness, celebrity and iniquity of modern-day Rock, the sting is directed at musicians and people who turn Rock into a “little bitch.” Rallying against a lack of adventurousness, passion or true spirit, it is a mandate to shake the modern-day Rock ‘n’ Roll purveyors- the first frantic ten seconds shows its anger towards people (who exploit their gift for arrogance and anger); the people who have no regard for the reality and true nature of music. Before any more words can be expounded, an exploding and rampant riff unfolds: the band get into R.A.T.M. territory to summon an annihilating and furious spell of deliriousness- pummeling in the mosh pit, the band are showing how Rock should be played- there is no room for tenderness and vagueness here, sir. Defined by crunching and monster riffs; furiously demented percussion; taut and psychotic bass, the coda gets inside of your brain- invigorates your fists to raise themselves aloft; implores rebellion and repressed tension to come pouring forth. A strangely catchy and addictive parable, you want it stay and play- caught in its combination of bonhomie-cum-feral vengeance, it is a stonewall blissed-out jam- the type Tom Morello would sever his head to get a hold of. Giving the music a spirit to infatuate, our hero is back on the mic.- ready to let his words tumble some more. Wondering how we have progressed from vinyl “to downloads“- aghast at the mindlessness and impersonalness of music- you can sense the annoyance and fatigue in his delivery. There is no bolshiness or impetuousness to be found: I feel similarly when it comes to music; we are in danger of losing the physical art of albums and songs- soon everything will be a ghost in the corporate machine. Our hero is in the quandary of an ill predicament: surrounded by “shit bands” and mind-numbing repellency, his words burn in the bonfire- raging against the serene; where the hell has the true essence gone?! Well, judging by the psychotropic recklessness and energy of Subject Number, it is right here: take note all you posing effeminate bands. With no musical reasons (why labels would “sign those“) you are entranced in the staccato and waterfall flow of the words: syncopated at times; purulent and determined the next; the pace and rapid-fire potency grabs you and drags you in- your mind is fully ensconced in the song’s vivid images. Displaying their innate wit (and ability to weave humour against pathos), the next lines are quite illuminating. Our hero lets it be known most bands just want their faces on “contraceptives and bobbleheads“- I know J.L.S. had their own brand of condom; there are too many jokes in there; I will get distracted. Everyone can emphasise and relate to our man’s plight: the commercialisation and celebrity brand (that comes with music) is polluting the water- too many new acts want to be media messiahs and tabloid fodder. If you are more concerned with having your own line of perfume or clothing, then you are in music for the wrong reasons- the acts that go down this road are unanimously awful and pointless. Not just confined to boy and girl bands, many ‘proper’ musicians are letting the cloak and dagger aspect of business cloud their judgement. The money and profit (bands will be reaping) does not equate to respectability and credibility: if your motives are driven by financial reward, then get the hell out of music. The cloying and nauseating fans- who snap up their branded merchandise- are just as culpable: funneling funds into the sludge, they are fueling this pernicious trend. Backed by an insatiable and overwhelming swagger, our frontman lets his voice mutate and develop- from the previous parable of scattershot Rap, we now go into Metal and R.A.T.M./Beastie Boys territory. Keen to get the lipid competition out of the picture; further his band’s own noble agendas, our hero wants them to “drop“- make sure that is “now.” I was impressed by just how far the vocal climbs. When scatting and rapping, our leader has some composure and melody- his tones are pleasing even when giving musicians a thorough dressing-down. In the second third, the screaming and wailing urgency comes to the fore: it is a libidinous and determined shout that emphasises the sense of desperation and annoyance. With the likes of Bi:Lingual working honestly- struggling to raise capital and patronage- it is not fair that untalented cretins are rolling in money (like pigs in shit). Our man is “sick of waiting“- possessed by a satanic and animalistic spirit, the blood-curdling roar is enough to scare the likes of One Direction all the way back to their mums. Of course, the vitriol and mission statement is not solely directed at the heroes of the 8-18 market- plenty of Indie and Rock bands are falling under our group’s attentions. Affirming their allegiance to real and veritable (and unfeigned sounds), you feel that Bi:Lingual are casting their poisoned net farther afield- perhaps artists like Kaiser Chiefs are in their mind. With a desire to see the wasters drop dead and retreat; renounce the throne (and desist with their evil ways). As the words are being poured- like gasoline on a bonfire- you get entranced by the delivery and composition- the former has an authentic Rap/Hip-Hop sway and pace to it that drives the song forward with fervency. The composition juxtaposes ‘traditional’ Rap/Hip-Hop sounds- electronics and samples- to give some true Rock grit and lust- the band play at such a force and speed that I would imagine they had to capture the song in one take! Our hero’s voice certainly couldn’t withstand too many re-records: after the 1:00 mark, you can hear it start to strain and crack- the ferocity and dominance of his delivery is stunning. The bi-polar projection allows refrain and calm to take over: we are back in the midst of a frantic and rifled verse. Attempting to euthanise clever talent shows; people who “show their sympathy” to the gullibility of the public (towards tawdry and pathetic sob story idols)- and wait on the phone line- wasting good money on conveyor belt musicians. Our hero shows an ear for atmosphere and delivery. Rather than let his words get buried and tangled in one another, he allows brief pause between certain lines/words: a tidal wave crashes…waits, and then rises back up again. Pointing the finger at “blind” viewers- that do not appreciate the pointlessness of the disposable ‘musicians’- the words here are as urgent and meaningful as any others- you just know how much the likes of The X Factor piss off the Bi:Lingual crew. Being of a similar mind, I share their disdain and perturbation- the likes of Simon Cowell and his orange face; pensioner waistline and student review put-downs are enough to put you off life altogether. Perhaps the vulnerability of the modern viewer is being exploited by monopolistic and proclivious companies; the scrupulous moguls and money-makes are keen to bilk the ‘faithful’- exploit their weaknesses and contribute to the “demise of the pedigree.” Lesser bands- there are too many of them- would not imbue their lyrics with intelligence and poetic potential. Showing the same lyrical flair and savvy (and witty suaveness) of Mike Skinner and Ben Drew, the words are not hyperbolic, conjecture and offensive- truth and obliviousness are represented in a shower of fragmented poetics and stunningly multifarious outpourings. Bereft of any sympathy, our hero has had enough of the Radio One music culture- the meaningless charts that document the true squalor and shallowness of music. Whereas their fond contemporaries are fighting in the trenches, the corporate penis-flickers are back at H.Q.- getting financial progesterone and ill-deserved adulation. It is great how much I relate to the song- sharing the band’s opinions- and the targets they charge towards- headlights bright and horn blasting. If they had mentioned the likes of Queens of the Stone Age, I would have ended this review here- the fact that Little Mix are name-checked brought a huge smile to my face. The epitome and embodiment of worthlessness; the glorified cover band (bands play instruments; these are marketing tools)- who ruin any cover they attempt- are infantilizing and demoralising music. Perhaps largely represented by prepubescent and pre-teen girls, you wonder if a moratorium could be imposed: ban anyone under 21 from buying music- ensuring that the likes of Little Mix, Neon Jungle and One Direction do as all a favour- and stick their head under a train. Emphasising how music is becoming more a business and charity case- replacing the days when musicians were ranked according to merit and promise- the order cognoscenti is wrong and corrupt. With hegemony going to the churlish and controversy-courting generation- who say the word ‘like’ every fifth or sixth syllable- the full passion of the words comes to light. With every kid from the “north and south” being a “fucking linguist“- supposed bona fide music-lovers on the order of false morals and impunity- the vague and plastic guitar proffering are hardly nascent revelations. The Pop and Rock acts that have as much credibility and conviction as Justin Bieber- the scummiest of the scum- think they are something special: deluded and deserving of opprobriousness, they are the ruination of music life. Backed by a guitar and percussive duel- sounding like a boxer punching his opponent- you can hear the gravel and concrete show its teeth- it is such a meaty and growling coda, you are helpless to resist its power. Mixing in reverbed and echoed vocal interjection; an additional layer of menace; malice and darkness comes in- our hero is a priest leading a holy quest- seeing his flock diminish and fall, he is atop a mountain. The vocal never loses its energy and avalanche: packing more into a syllable- than most acts pack into a song- you listen hard to take all of the words in (pausing and replaying lyrics to make sure you have all the information). Before the fever-dream chorus comes back to feast, the band let the composition have a bite: the stuttering and drunken blasts from bass, guitar and percussion provide a taut and tight ellipsis- preparing you for what is to come. By the time the chorus does come back around, you have more story on board- the words become more relevant and frantic- the song grows in stature and meaning. After the drowning gasps are spluttered; our hero tries to keep his emotions in check- I imagined he demolished the studio after the engineer and producer called things to a halt- and not let explicitness cloud his concision. As you prepare yourself for lyrical treats- more fascinating and intelligent lines- the instruments make sure they step into the limelight. The guitar is an arpeggio of firestorm fury and biblical resonance- Van Halen and Hendrix come to mind- complete with see-saw and considered modulation; there are touches of Muse thrown in- embers of their Black Holes and Revelations (epic fretwork) shows its scars. Distorting your mind and making your eyes spin, the parable is the aural equivalent of a burning pyre- our hero has ignited a flame that looks set to caramelize and incinerate the weakest of the species. When the chorus comes back around, the percussion stood in my mind. Matching the likes of R.A.T.M. for pure pummel, the percussion’s octopus-limbed cannoning is a thing of beauty- you would imagine Dave Grohl, Neil Peart and Brad Wilk Cellotaped to one another. Our hero is kept in check by authoritative and fatherly bass lines- plenty of exhibitionist power comes out; it makes sure the song does not show any loose seams or edges. With his voice still intact- how the hell has that happened?- he sounds like a man alight: having jumped into the fire, the only chance of survival is the cooling water of fairness and musical karma- you suspect that he has second-degree burns just thinking about the likes of Scouting for Girls and their ilk. Ensuring his fastidious and unimpeachable carniverousness remains strong, the final lines are delivered with just as much passion as at the start- the consistency and momentum is never-ending and unflinching. As our man steps away from the mic., a final few notes wrap things up: going for a much-needed drink of water, you are staggered by the amount of anger at the song’s heart- hardly surprising given what is being assessed.
Few reviewers will expend as many words as here- when it comes to reviewing one song. That is going to change for sure! Most songs are only worth a dozen-or-so words- the likes of N.M.E. and The Guardian distill an entire album review into six lines. If you were surveying a cover version from a boy band, you would probably urinate on the page; type the words ‘I want to die’ several times and put it out into the ether- it is acts like Bi:Lingual that inspire the pen to run out of ink. I found myself- with futile outcome- trying to keep pace with the rollicking vocal delivery; conveying my thoughts as fast as the lyrics are uttered. Subject Number is a song that demands endless repeat and investigation- you will pause the song at intervals to repeat lines and thoughts. Before I get down to patting the band members on the back, I shall finish up with the song. The epic and gleaming production- from Jamie Donnelly- makes sure the song is given full respect- the words and notes are crisp and undiluted. It is not too polished; allowing some raw and sweaty edges to come seeping through. Ranking alongside the best cuts the likes of R.A.T.M., Beastie Boys or The Streets could produce, it is a stunning and mesmerising track. The vocal puts you right in the song: such an impassioned performance, it is impossible not to be won over by its intentions and electioneering spirit. A few acts write similar themes- the game of fame; endless reality show garbage- but none have sounded as immediate and emphatic as this. A crystalline and golden nugget, Subject Number is one of the most addictive and impressive tracks I have heard all year- let us hope that future songs match its dizzying heights. As relevant and common as war, terrorism and corruption, the song will never lose its potential and meaning- unless talent shows and horrid musicians are expunged and extinguished, then we should never stop battling and fighting. A worthy and necessary warfare, Bi:Lingual are a confederacy against enslavement and musical genocide: they do not want everyone taken out- just the acts that are stopping them achieving their goals. It may come off as a political and fascist manifesto, yet most of the public back these opinions: we need to enforce some limitations and restrictions- castrate the testicles of facile and whiny Pop music. Any acts that are involved in Rock- with nary a thought for passion and conviction- are standing under a dangling sword- if you are not good enough to appeal to proper music-lovers, then there is no sense having you around. Too many acts get into music for the hell of it- thinking that the minimum is good enough- hopefully Subject Number will inspire some hesitation and creative revisions. Designed as a rebellion against commercial and marketing dictatorships, it also gives a warning to new musicians- if you do not enough weaponry in your armoury, you are going to be human shields. Of course, good music is a not a synonym for Rap, Metal, Hip-Hop- everyone has their own tastes and Folk, Pop, Soul and Indie can produce works of genius. The band is not saying they are the best examples of what music has on offer- they are not far from it- merely explaining they have spirit and genuine talent- they want to cull those that do not deserve to be here. As such, the song is the sound of conviction and absolutely delirious urgency- ironically making the song one of the finest things you will hear in 2014. Most bands that rally and complain turn in cold turkey songs- the sounds seem pretentious and free from any class or solidity. Bi:Lingual get their clear message across, but do not overlook the importance of music, composition and melody. They ensure their sound is ever-changing and mobile; enforced and galvanised when needed- sparser and less oblique when the vocal shines. Subject Number ticks all of the boxes: few commentators and observers would find anything that could be considered a negative- what more could you want from a track? The song is a winner because of the band themselves: the closeness and intuition they have shines in every syllable, note and refrain- bands twice their age are not as in-step and telekinetic. The vocal delivery is insanely determined and impressive. Drawing in some embers of heroes past, the sound mixes some of R.A.T.M.’s early work (in the chorus) in addition to Mike Skinner’s charm and wit (in the verses). Able to shout with insane menace; offer prophecies with controlled and measured pace; roll, rock and slither- it is a phenomenal performance. All the words are intelligible and decipherable- even when the verses are delivered with an ecstatic sense of drive. This makes the song’s messages extrapolatable and meaningful- you will be quoting lines and singing couplets for weeks to come. The bass work keeps the song from collapsing and regression to hyperbole. Taut and slinky at times, the abiding sound is of a stringed and winged beast- one that ensures that every note and vocal is backed by immense support and purpose. Guitars melt your face; shred the scenery and drug your brain- mingling Hendrix-esque pyrotechnics with ragged Rock/Hip-Hop masculinity, the parables and outpourings are deeply startling- the band show how terrific they are as musicians. The song is likely going to be an essential mosh-pit demand- a set closer that will see bodies carried away on stretchers. Beer-swigging and knife-wielding, it is the sound of modern-day music-lovers- those that hate the rise and prolifency of mainstream Pop muppets. With a sterling and earthquake percussionist on your team, you are never going to go wrong: with tentacles flailing and pulverising, few modern drummers could keep up with what is on offer throughout Subject Number. Instilling unexpected fills and calmer measures into the track, you cannot deny the vitality and primitive splendour of the delivery. Having not heard of Bi:Lingual until a few days ago- shame on me and the media- I am so glad I have. When new material flies out, I wanna be the first on it! Appropriating the candour and majesticness of legendary Rock/Hip-Hop acts of the ’80s and ’90s, they are a brave crew that deserve a tremendous amount of support and backing. Subsiding from their own crops and creations; living off of the land, they need money and cash injection- music like this should not die in the heat and be overlooked. If you have any sense and faith in new music, then you need to check out Subject Number– a wonderful glimpse and window into one of this country’s most vital and patriotic bands.
In nearly every review- when it comes to the conclusion- I always find myself saying vaguely the same thing- using similar words and prostrations; familiar predictions and summations. Today, things are very different indeed. I find myself deeply impressed with Bi:Lingual; having experienced something new and distinctly original, I have been given a lot of inspiration and fascination. Bonding Rap and Rock into an intoxicating blend, the guys are going to be a very exciting future proposition. If you are put off by promises of anger and rebellion, then have no fear: the guys make music that promotes energy and togetherness- as opposed to dislocation and feral snap. Being a huge fan of acts such as Beastie Boys, I can hear a lot of them in Bi:Lingual- that same ambition and innovative brain. The U.S. legends pretty much had- and have- a faultless career: I am loathed to think of an album that was met with anything but critical acclaim. Few acts can boast this kind of consistence and plaudit- the New York Hip-Hop crew are one of the most inspired and daring acts of all-time. I particularly love III Communication: a twenty track collection that marries so many sounds and threads together- it is a dizzying and hypnotic record. Perhaps not their most celebrated album- Paul’s Boutique steals that honour- to me it represents the peak of their creative powers- tracks like Sabotage are as tight and potent as anything I have ever heard. Given the band’s consistency- and the fact that they hit upon such a phenomenal style and trajectory- and huge patronage, it has baffled me why more acts do not follow in their footsteps- not replicate them but at least be inspired by them. Even though the last Beastie Boys album is three years old, it is not to say that they are through- the guys will be back, showing the music world how it is done. We all need to witness and embrace bands like this: Bi:Lingual are a brave and emphatic group that are going some way to introduce Beastie-esque magic and urgency into their music. With music innovators such as Beck become more restrained and matured, it is vital that some youthful anger and innovation comes back into the scene- keep an eye on these chaps. Subject Number is causing much excitement; it bodes well for the future: it would be terrific to see a full album from the group in time. On the evidence of their latest track, the band have lost none of their magic and potency- they have grown in confidence and stature; found new inspiration and sense of purpose- their current offering is their most stunning cut to date. I love how effortless and assured everything sounds; how bonded and tight the guys are- their music ranks alongside some of the most fascinating and promising in all of music. I would advise that everyone take a look back on the band’s work- find out how far they have come and how great their beginnings were. It is not just Subject Number that hits you: the potential and promise gets you very excited and filled with hope. Being penniless and impoverished, the boys may have to club some cash together- to be able to record an album. It is my wish that people snap up physical copies of their singles; give their money across to a band that have the potential to go all the way. So few new musicians sound as intent and meaningful as Bi:Lingual: they are an act that want nothing more than to stay in music for as long as possible. I have never seen them perform live; I imagine it is quite an unforgettable experience- if they come down my way, then I have no excuse missing out. Before I wrap up, I should offer some sort of direction to up-and-coming bands; provide missive and truth. The sense of fun, wise-crack and anger is seeping from music; bands that can tie this to deep and inventive sounds are disappearing and fading out- what we are left with is less daring sounds; those that are safer and more predictable. It is true that some terrific music can be discovered- within these confines- yet there is a part of the brain and psyche that is going to seek out those who do not want to follow the flock- Bi:Lingual are the guys for you. Artists that usually spar Rock and Rap capitulate and stumble with embarrassing results- our guys are in no danger of suffering this fate. They clearly have a love and admiration for classic acts like Rage Against the Machine and Beastie Boys: they do not ape them or copycat; instead instilling an essence of their magic into their own distinct sound. Fans of the genre are sure to find a hell of a lot to love (in the band); those perhaps a little more timid should come forth and have a taster- their music does not push anyone away. There are no bellicose scream-fests and profanity-laden rallying: there is rhythm, hypnotism and huge energy to be found- music that is designed to draw people together and not cast them aside. If you- like me- want to find something that is distinct and meaningful, then you need Bi:Lingual in your life. They are going to go a long way and have a lot more to say- let us hope that they have album and E.P. plans in their thoughts. Anyone that does not like their music are offered an oral sex-related option; their music has the potential to make your genitals burst- it seems that whatever you do you are in danger. The best thing you can do is to listen to the music and love what you hear- I guarantee that you will- otherwise the worst will happen. I am going to listen (again) to Subject Number; close my curtains and Cellotape my trousers on…
JUST in case.
About the Author:
Tour dates accessible at:
23– The Showroom, Hartlepool
30– The Fenton, Leeds
2– Carpe Diem, Leeds
4– Subject Number Single Release
5– The Keys, Middlesbrough (supporting DZ Deathrays)
9– The Globe, Newcastle
14– Roadhouse, Manchester
15– Ryans Bar, Derby
26– The Islington, London
30– The Lomax, Liverpool (International Music Festival)
11– Zombie Shack, Manchester
4– The Crown, Middlesbrough (Guests at RISE Wrestling)
Bi:Lingual’s music can be heard here:
Bi:Lingual’s videos are available via: