SLUGFUCKERS - TRANSFORMATIONAL SALT LP
Recorded in one session at M-Squared in 1981, "Transformational Salt"; the now legendary sole LP from Sydney post-punk art school provocateurs The Slugfuckers, very nearly didn't happen.
It was only via the encouragement (and money $$$$) of Mr. Severed Head himself Tom Ellard, that the band tracked the record for eventual release on Ellard's own Dogfood Production System. Ellard had previously worked alongside The Slugfuckers on the "Ear Bitten / No Vowels, No Bowels" split LP for Terse Tapes, which featured sides from Severed Heads and s-fuckers side-project Rhythmyx Chymx.
The band's previous releases, the "Instant Classic" single and "Three Feet Behind Glass / Live At Budokan" EP, were both recorded on a two track tape recorder in a disused room of the local community media studio. It is these recordings (since re-issued as an LP in 2011 by Insolito) that were always the most widely available, and that have in the years since come to see the band defined as "French philosophy shouted over noise". The band have pushed back against this classification, claiming that they really were trying to sound like a "real band", but just couldn't manage it at the time.
It's on "Transformational Salt" that the Slugfuckers claims of being a "real band" actually start to hold quite a bit of weight. The band, while never losing their antagonistic streak, push further away from the noise/proto-industrial sounds of their earlier releases and into something more recognisably post-punk.
Despite at times almost sounding like a more caustic Fall, there is an unmistakable core of humour and heart underneath it all that to me sees them fall more in line with the likes of The UV Race than The Primitive Calculators, despite actually sounding more like the latter.
Wherever The Slugfuckers fit within your own personal canon of Australian underground music, their importance and vitality cannot be denied. An excellent and long-awaited reissue of a legitimate classic.
Slugfuckers’ sole full-length Transformational Salt, originally released on Tom Ellard's (Severed Heads) Dogfood Production System in 1981, is an absorbing slab of Australian DIY, dense with thought and fury. The album brings together reprobate dub poetics and thug-drubbing spite in a mangled collage of post-punk disjunct and proto-industrial churn. Art and subcultural adherents are roundly slagged throughout. The group emerged from a college milieu in Sydney, and they’ve been categorized alongside contemporaries Bleeding Arseholes, Rhythmyx Chymx and N-Lets as anti-music ensembles prizing untutored spontaneity. More useful comparisons include Desperate Bicycles and the Pop Group. Also credited for a sound that seems to collapse, but could also be described as openness or constant fluctuation, is the then-newly translated Anti-Oedipus by Deleuze and Guatarri. Terry Blake (guitar), John Laidler (guitar) and Graham Forsyth (bass) formed Slugfuckers in the late 1970s, with Austin Laverty (drums), Craig Wilcox (keyboards, percussion) and Gordon Renouf (saxophone, bass, guitar) joining later. Transformational Salt followed two 1979 singles, Three Feet Behind Glass / Live at Budokan and Instant Classic.
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