CALL THE DOCTOR – RIOTS
Released 12th September 2011
Words: Sinead Murphy
Riots, the latest offering from Bristolian four-piece Call The Doctor, is a frantic yet strangely satisfying venture through sickly sweet vocals and raging militant drum beats.
Constantly teasing the listener with the promise of a stylistic redirection, and laughing in the face of generic song composition, the record sounds much like a musical rendition of Alice falling through the rabbit hole. It’s disorientating, it’s panicked, and at times it borders on sensory overload – but that doesn’t for a minute mean it’s not one hell of a ride!
With Flaws, the anthemic opening track of the EP, comes Patti Aberhart’s smoky and indifferent vocals – casually winding their way around relentless high-hat crashing and a frenzied peppering of guitar riffs. It is here that we are first introduced to the hedonistic boy/girl vocals which present themselves so frequently in Call The Doctor’s sound. Teetering on confrontational, like an argument that never quite looses its ammunition, the interaction between Patti and guitarist/backing vocalist Rob Hallworth draws poignant parallels to the title of the record, and when paired with the mania of the melodic backdrop one quickly realises that this is indeed music to start a riot with.
Here To Haunt is just as much of an assault-by-volume as its predecessor, with roaring symbols and tauntingly jerky guitar riffs. It holds fire just long enough to offer an unsettling and oddly hypnotic mantra of “Everybody knows”, which, if not delivered in Aberhart’s sugar sprinkled lull, might otherwise bring about a panic attack.
Stood Beside Her provides a momentary break from the delicious hyperactivity of its surrounding tracks, where dreamy, contemplative vocals dance gracefully aside slightly trippy guitar twangs. Settling itself comfortably aside early Weezer or Nada Surf material, the track perfectly captures that sense of jilted, socially awkward despondence so prevalent in the infant years of the 1990’s. In other words, this track would be the perfect accompaniment to leaning against a high school locker with your hands plunged deep into the pockets of your flannel shirt, as you wonder why the popular kids don’t like you, or how you’ll never get that girl.
But don’t think you can wallow in self-deprecating pity for long. Roundabout, the EP’s closing track, picks up where the initial anarchy of the record left off – plunging the listener into a disorientating world of hypnotic vocals and heart attack inducing beats. Capturing an almost schizophrenic approach to pace and dynamics, Roundabout effortlessly concludes an already delirious body of work, in which we are never quite sure whether saccharine-sweet tones or face melting riffs are waiting just around the corner.