Reverse Family


365 – the Ringmasters review

Big thanks to Pete Ringmaster for his fabulous synopsis of 365

Day by day with Reverse Family

We all have different outlets for extreme emotions be they bred in grief, frustration, anxiety or romance for example. For many an artistic avenue is the release from such overwhelming trespasses and so it is with Reverse Family who are about to unleash a daunting but we can already assure you irresistible adventure for ears.

The Reverse Family is the solo project of Dermot Illogical, someone probably better known right now as Andreas Vanderbraindrain, the frontman of British outfit The Tuesday Club. Towards the end of last year, he released acclaimed debut album My Songs About Life Mid Crisis, a collection of multi-flavoured lo-fi experimental goodness which continues to hang around in the imagination and passions like an inescapable itch. It was an introduction which commanded attention and breeds real anticipation for the next epic outing with Reverse Family.

Starting in October, Dermot is releasing 365, a project made up of 52 EPs released as one a week for a whole year. Before panicking, shouting impossible, or mistakenly thinking anything that massive has to be more filler than thriller let us declare that with the evidence of the sampler sent by the man our way in our hands, it is going to be an escapade taking ears and imagination on a helter-skelter of honest and emotionally raw but instinctively fun exploration; a journey given greater intimate potency by Dermot’s diary entry of that particular day by the way of ‘sleeve notes’.

The tracks making up the project were all recorded DIY style at home between Jan 1st2015 and Dec 31st 2015 with Dermot playing every instrument and sharing every syllable. Everything heard is as played and recorded; no editing or tampering made with every song bred in heart and spontaneity. It is an organic air and array of textures which grips the imagination as much as the sounds themselves; a fly-on-the-wall like climate baring the same open heart as that of their creator.

The catalyst to the project was the death of Terry, the drummer of The Tuesday Club. His sad passing came just as the band was deservedly stirring bigger and bolder praise carrying spotlights, a time topped by the band supporting Toyah at The 02 Islington and releasing their most successful and critically acclaimed EP to date. It was a world crushing time for the band and especially for Dermot who was also coming to terms with divorce, life dictating and changing illnesses for both parents as well as the constant struggle of being self-employed. It was a time many would have buckled under but Dermot focused all the suffocating turbulence into his music and turned it into a creative quest, one which at times you feel probably completely took over his world but gave him a survival and now the listener a spark for pleasure and thoughtful contemplation.

As the tracks we have reveal there is no ‘woe is me’ self-pity fuelling the adventure. Yes, it scratches his open wounds at times and is not always sharing smiles but every moment is an open insight and reflection on his feelings across the evolving year of those challenges and the life around Dermot in St. Albans with plenty of knowing black humour involved along the way.

The first track swiftly grabbing years was Future son – The Twa Twa’s, (day 8) of the creative pilgrimage. Instantly it reminds of ‘My Songs About Life Mid Crisis’ with its post punk twang and Dirk Wears White Sox era Adam and The Ants like character. A gorgeous hook lurks within the angular clamour, Dermot’s vocal delivery a swinging flirtation matching the similar allure of bass. The structurally organic design of the track alone is a web of lust clasping shenanigans, the song in its whole a psyche infesting treat.

Some tracks have an even rawer sound and temptation than others, This house is empty (day 10) one which borders abrasive in sound but within its causticity is an instinctive funkiness which has the body bouncing and appetite eagerly exploring words and emotion. There is a sense of despair and also hope carrying new beginnings felt with the track, a conflict most of us are no strangers too at some point and can grab with nodding recognition.

The clutch of songs within the sampler show the great array of styles embraced by the Reverse Family sound, the outstanding I stand alone (day 13) a post punk natured infestation managing to sound like a mix of Fire Engines, Swell Maps and unsurprisingly The Tuesday Club with Dermot’s distinctive tones yet is unique in every pore while MP3 (day 310)is a junction box of sonic wires casting a Devo meets Pere Ubu scented discord over the imagination.

The darker, grungier Faded colours (day 336) offers melancholy at its most magnetic, In my head (day 337) sharing a sonically and emotionally haunting incursion on the senses as pained as it is corrosively elegant, and both songs continue the broadening maze of flavours and emotional tempestuousness within the sampler alone. Like many tracks, each is also a relatively brief encounter; fleeting moments in an unsettled and often unsettling day though Bad cartoon (day 343) stays a little longer with its melodically jangling and evocatively persuasive as Bowie-esque toning draws the listener with seductive ease into its own personal melancholy.

The punk ‘n’ roll of Do it just for me (day 344) hits the spot just as easily, its tenacious canter a gentle cacophony of guitar, rhythms, and voice while I built a new contraption (day 356) shares a broad grin in its post punk/art rock pop. The pair relish in the addictive prowess Dermot constantly finds in his minimalistic but oh so potent grooves and hooks, though he saves maybe the most addictive for Breathy graffiti (day 365), its electronic poking the kind of inescapable nagging lust was bred for.

So that gives a hint of what is in store for us once 365 begins revealing its heart in a few weeks. It would be a little unrealistic to expect every one of the songs within the 52 EPs, each suggested to contain seven tracks, will hit the lofty heights of those on the sampler but do expect each to be the most honest and spontaneously shared temptations sure to intrigue and captivate like nothing else around today.

We for one just cannot wait!

The first of the 365 EPs will be released digitally from 2nd October 2017 via Perfect Pop Co-Op one a week through to the first week of October 2018 and samplers via Nub Country Records 1 per month for a year. For more information keep an eye on:

10 page special in ‘In the Club’ issue 033

Big thanks to the Perfect Pop Co-Op for our inclusion in the new 10 page special feature on us in ‘In the Club’ issue 033. There are great insights inside on 365 by Roger Payne and Pete Ringmaster.

Roger Payne – 365 an insight…

Big thanks to Roger Payne from associated press (also frontman with Harpenden based Country Punks – Hubcap Moon)

365 days in a year. 365 songs. Each song represents a single day in the life… A unique experience, a mini drama, a vignette, however dramatic or routine, emotionally charged or neutral, all reflecting the trials, pressures, normalities, mundanities anyone might experience in any given 24 hours…

This is a big undertaking to capture the epic undertaking that is life…  As Dermot says himself –

“like what a day does, you get what’s next, pretty much whether you like it or not and you deal with it, sometimes well, sometimes not… life in the now”.

These songs were born in an instant; conceived and recorded in bursts of spontaneity, each one an immediate statement of intent. Honest and pure but raw, like a wound, then left as is, untouched by the temptation to correct mistakes, mess with, tweak and fiddle… The thinking being as if to begin overproducing would be betray their roughly hewn from the ether quality and the spirit in which they were recorded…

In this day and age, because of the immediate hands on technology available in music and recording, so much emphasis is placed on crafting, shaping, controlling, cleaning up and polishing the work that any sense of spontaneity or evidence of the initial composition can be eradicated in the process. Through this misguided desire to seek perfection often the “undesirable” mess of accident, glitch, character and, god forbid, human error is wiped clean.

Like many of the Anti – Art DADAists, post war action painters or improvisational poets, by relinquishing full control of their craft, allowing accident and chance to live and breathe through their art and the creative process, a new aesthetic was achieved and new value was given to the finished results. Similarly 365 sets out to embrace these ideals contravening the petty quest for perfection and with the courage of full conviction to the purpose of the project, takes on an appropriate punk ethic to achieve an exciting, vibrant punk sound!

“This was a test, an experiment… an exploration employing a semi-surrealist, stream of consciousness… Let’s call it a bit Jackson Pollocks…”

The decision to start 365 as a “thing” hung, suspended in thought, like a ballerina on points on a razor blade… The narrowest movement, the slightest nudge either way could have been the difference between its existence or not! In this case, prevarication, apprehension and self-consciousness were the enemies of inspiration and, it was the light of inspiration, glowing in an otherwise dark place that motivated Dermot to reach inside himself and create something positive from the black swamp of his personal despair at the time… The death of a great friend and band mate, Terry, going through divorce, dealing with the serious illness of both parents among other traumas took Dermot to the edge…

Instead of retreating, shutting down, dimming the light by degrees, Dermot was shocked into action, turning to his passion for music to address the issues he was experiencing and face his reality.

“…just an average man from St. Albans, (once an ordinary city in England but now haven of the wealthy and bearded!). My style was spontaneous – I approached it how Terry’s death had approached me, by shocking me into action…”

Not so much as hoping for an instant cure but maybe to find some way to begin healing those raw wounds… You could say Dermot created a home-made music for a home-made therapy…

However 365 in not an exercise in self-introspection or indulgence. Amid the elements of despair sits a healthy dose of black humour to ease the pain, along with many a pinch of salt observation to bring a wry smile to the listeners face… 365 is a creative triumph… 365 is wild scream of optimism… 365 is a credit of creativity and example of spirit and hope overcoming the darkness…

Reverse Family live at Hertford Corn Exchange

BIG thanks to the mighty Lasers Eight O’clock Day One and Denise for the invite to play their show at Hertford Corn Exchange tonight, twas a blast. Big thanks to Martin for his drum expertise and as ever the legends that are Rog and Dave. We’re returning to the studio for mixing duties. Those in the know, will be aware that this album, is just the tip of the iceberg! Much to follow in the autumn, fests, TV and a lot of new music… x