One day at work a couple of years ago I was reading what Cardinal Fuzz had to say about a Canadian band called ‘The Band Whose Name Is Symbol‘ (abbreviated to TBWNIS) and how he had managed to get a few copies of their then new and very limited album Pathfinder. I was was intrigued to say the least. So like anyone who is on a tight budget I decided to check them out. The thing is there were very few scraps of information that could be found online… How mysterious I thought. As the minutes turned into hours I started to panic that I may miss out, so I took a punt and bagged a copy. The album became a regular feature on my turntable. It was Krautrock sprinkled with punk (PiL without vocals, kind of), It sounded tight but loose but most of all it just pressed all the right buttons. Over the next couple of years a real buzz started around the UK underground. Blogs and forums alike were full of chatter. Cardinal Fuzz released a new studio album (Masters Of Molehill), Drone Rock Records released Live At Dominion Tavern, but still we wanted more, we knew there were at least eight more albums!
This sumptuous three album box set is the kind of thing that can only be a labour of love by band and label. Housed in a foil stamped presentation box containing an 8 page A4 risographed hand stamped editon biographical document, a double sided A4 colour insert and the three albums TBWNIS Vs. THE PURVEYORS OF CONSPICIOUS AUTHENTICITY, SCRAPPY LIITTLE JAW and PATHFINDER (all in spined sleeves and containing download codes). All of these albums are as rare as rocking horse shit, all of them on ltd runs of 100 when first released and all in one place.
The tricky thing is to try and unpick each album mainly because they are a band with such a fluctuating line up, that each album brings something slightly different to the table. ‘Pathfinder’ for me seems to be a lot more (dare I say it) structured and would make a great starting point for those wishing to see what all the fuss is about. It has shorter pieces like ‘Haf Hed’ a track that seems to showcase everything that the band are about in under three minutes. It is the majestic ‘Pathfinder Blues’ where you will find band in all their unhinged glory. In 2013 the band released Scrappy Little Jaw, I find this album the most groove orientated, a fine example of this is album opener ‘Berlin Ont’ and the riff heavy ‘Blues In Goddamn’. As for the Purveyors…….album, I would say this is the band at their most improvisational and is best exemplified in the ten minutes plus of opener Sour Kraut, its a slow building monster the whole band (8 members strong on this album) just riding that free form wave.
Look I’ll be honest It is going to be difficult to track this box set down, but if you ever get a chance to bag a copy then do so, failing that keep your eyes and ears open and see if you pick up any of their albums because they will be worth your time and effort.