ALBUM REVIEW: Sir-Vere – Singulus (Big fat Mama Beats)

There’s something wonderfully free about the Sir-Vere first came to this writer’s attention a few years back with singles like ‘Holy Fool’ and ‘Night Time’. There’s something wonderfully free about the music the Milton Keynes trio – recently expanded to a foursome with the addition of a second singer – make, fusing most (quite possibly all) the musical subcultures that swirl around out of earshot of the mainstream. There are hints of punk, rock and hip-hop, but also acid house, techno and electro, stitched together wonderfully with maximum style and minimal regard for convention.

‘Singulus’ apparently started life as a singles collection but has evolved into a stepping stone between last album ‘Psychoballisticfunk’ and whatever fresh and glorious hell they’re planning to unleash next. Tracks like ‘Rebirth’ and ‘Lips pt1’ are what you’d probably call core Sir-Vere – slamming breaks, bubbling acid lines and dubby effects from DJ Stevie Vega, with Craig Hammond’s hectoring tones half lead vocal, half goading of the groove.

There’s plenty of this irresistible block rocking behaviour going on, but they prove that they are no one trick ponies either. ‘Hunger’ showcases the impressive lung power of new addition Ian McEwan, providing the pure tones to offset Hammond’s grittier reference points – Mark E Smith, Jaz Coleman, Adam Ant. “He’s coming from a different angle again” reckons guitarist and producer Gary Morland in the accompanying biog, “he’s really into bands like The Psychedelic Furs and Pixies, and it’s great dropping that into the mix of the rest of us. He and Craig have really different styles, they really complement each other.”

Another curve ball is ‘You Me & The Continuum (Drummatics)’, a proper cosmic percussion-fest that sounds like a marching band who’ve been microdosed with a touch of LSD just as they were setting off on their travels. ‘Extra Beat In My Heart’, meanwhile, has a touch of rugged, Joy Division-esque romance about to it, as well as a considerable earworm quotient that shows they have the tunes to match their rhythmic firepower.

Nice work all round, that’s for sure – and considering the band are two decades old, amazing how it still feels like they’re on the way to something big.

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