Former members of Shield Yours Eyes, Stef Kett (guitar and vocals) and Henri Grimes (drums), formed Reciprocate in 2018. To complete the band they enlisted Marion Andrau (We Wild Blood, The Wharves, Shjrunken Heads) who has swapped guitar for bass here.
Reciprocate’s sound is a raw, propulsive and twisted take on Post Hardcore – a genre that seems to have taken a back seat over the last few years.
On ‘Yeah Well’, their debut album they have taken romantic ballads and pulled them apart with the maniacal glee of a disturbed primary school boy. You know, the one that dissected spiders and daddy longlegs’s by hand before treading on their dismembered torso. Everyone knew a kid like that, right?
Kett’s wild guitar hooks on opener Pray Tell snake around Grimes’ fizzing untethered drums, all harnessed by Andrau’s less-is-more bass. It absolutely explodes out of the blocks before giving way to a more expansive section that provides a perfect platform for Kett’s Robert Smith-like vocals. It jumps from one mode to the other with the hyperactive, fidgety drums filling the spaces between.
Bizarrely they chase this with a borrowed spoken word introduction, Tascam. Seemingly ripped from the biography of a sportsman (we’ve seen mention of Ian Botham). They indulge in some bizarre backwards electronics with frequent clicks that I assume to be the mechanics of a Tascam 4-track.
How many bands have a song named after one of their members?
I can’t think of many, but Marion Andrau is certainly one to add to the list. It’s a messy punchy rocker that consciously destroys its riffs just as they verge on rock n roll. Kett’s guitar pitches bent harmonics against chopped up riffing and utterly unhinged soloing. It’s insane, intense and kind of great fun. It comes complete with ridiculous comedy blues ending.
Marble Arch is a much more sedate affair by comparison. The quite beautiful melody is accompanied by crazed drums that, in this instance, perhaps prove a little distracting. Still, it can’t be said that this sounds like anyone else so why the hell not! They certainly don’t go for the safe option and that’s exciting to hear.
What follows is probably the wildest track on the album, Yeah Well (part 1). It’s an almost proggy exercise in avant garde, Beefheart meets Sweet Williams controlled chaos. The drums are absolutely at centre stage here, almost in a constant state of frantic soloing, accompanied by sparse, moody guitar and bass. The introductory section is inspired. “What say we get all tangled up?” Screams Kett. A great nod to the intricate web that follows.
A part one, of course, must require a part two.
It’s a fucked, backwards sister piece to the first part, minus the vocals and drums. A warped landscape of guitar psychedelics that provides a necessary breather.
They round off the album with perhaps it’s most cohesive track, Hold’. Moody, gnarled guitars, steady bass and a constant pulse run throughout. It has a kind of Modest Mouse ‘Lonesome Crowded West’ grandiosity to it and provides a fine ending to an utterly unique album.
Reciprocate seemingly can’t sit still and, for the most part, this absolutely works in their favour.
Gringo Records have unearthed another gem here.
‘Yeah Well’ is released 24th July via Gringo Records.