EP Review: Muck Spreader - 'Abysmal'

Muck Spreader waded their way out of the mud back in 2019, with a dizzying first single Having Fun. Now, the eccentric Lewisham collective have released their enthralling debut Abysmal on Brace Yourself records; Izzy Felton listens in.

In a recent interview, the group described their sound, which is predominantly a mix of Jazz and Punk, as being like ‘a hyena crunching through the bones of a child.’ This record well and truly bites. Along the way, introducing us to their freakish world of lonely wind instruments, improvised madness and, naturally, Muck. Prepare yourself, you’ll be stumbling through dark streets of cloaked characters and growling dogs before you know it.

"This record well and truly bites"

The record opens with 'Take Flight', Muck Spreader’s most popular track that features on Spotify’s Melomania playlist and has received backing from 6 Music’s Huw Stephens. It’s a perfect 2 minute introduction to the collective. Kicking off with the gritty, fierce improvised sound that weaves its way throughout the record. Howling saxophones and blood-curdling vocals ping pong the track between the realms of Jazz and Punk. Muck Spreader tag along with the recent wave of experimental bands like Black Country, New Road.

However, this band are not scared of roadmen, sporting the hardiness of groups like fellow South Londoners Fat White Family. There isn’t a flowery-ness about Muck Spreader’s music. If anything, their creative storytelling has more of a comedic effect; exploring social issues through fictional characters. We meet an East End plumber in 'Plumbing Problems', a lonely track that is seemingly built around an isolated saxophone. And an angry dog and his drippy owner in 'Would He'. The latter is a real stand out track off Abysmal, where we hear Frontman Luke Brennan morph into a crazed barking dog and takes on the high-pitched voice of a wimpy owner scared of his dog- quite reminiscent of Jim and Wilson from Channel 4’s Friday Night Dinner. Muck Spreader’s ability to shapeshift creates a truly unique method of storytelling that you just can’t stop listening to.

The whole album reminds me of one of those crooked houses at a funfair that gave you the heebie-jeebies as a kid. It’s Halloween in a record; kind of freaks you out but sometimes makes you laugh. The exact feeling a record as bizarre and ingenious as Muck Spreader’s debut Abysmal should have. Their genre defying music has made them an increasingly popular choice on the London scene. This record will no doubt ensure its increase even more.

Written by: Izzy Felton

Edited by: Joe Hughes

Featured image courtesy of Muck Spreader via Facebook. In- article media courtesy of Muck Spreader via YouTube.