There's a starkly raw aspect to Fathoms Deep that reaches back to the Velvet Underground while infusing elements of The Stooges and Blue Cheer, thenceforward to Television and Japan with a New York Dolls attitude. Figure in, if you'd be so kind, a less dense but still arch Swans as well. The CD's promo lit refers to 70s art damage noise, but I'll do it one better: The Tunnel is recreating the difficult art of taking fairly simple progressions built from basic chords and structures but enshrining the process so that it reflects stars and shrouded night skies in museum quality architecture. Had Bauhaus figured this tricky little formula out, they'd've had far greater durability. I mean, these four Tunnel cats really grab a basic tune by the throat and crush every last drop of blood out in gleaming mania. "Ragged darkly romantic tales of lust and loss" is the estate claimed as their milieu, and one is put to the test trying to gainsay that.
There's even a subdued reversal of Japan's The Tenant in Fathomless Deep, a foggily stepped instrumental that dreamily contrasts the flanking songs of harsh chords and fierce urgency, many heavy but not metal. Damn near, though. Singer Jeff Wagner blends differing aspects of David Sylvian, John Foxx, Patti Smith, and 80s bleak/snotty others, all with a Jagger sneer, more than a little Sex Pistols and XTC, and frequently the evocation of an elegantly alley-pissed Cockney birdflip. Seriously, this is good shit and rarely handled so well, a return to 60s virtues and values with a clearly moderne POV retrospective, just enough of latter-years savvy to upgrade matters but never intrude. We've for too many years been hoping for a lot of blokes (Steve Jones, etc.) to come up with this, but The Tunnel have finally yanked an eight-spot of gems out from the underside and placed them in a cage for public delectation. It's best advised that you bring fork and spoon, manacles and ball gags, and perhaps even absinthe with gutter water sidecars, 'cause we're going to be feasting with not only the panthers on this one but also their ogling decadent nouveau riche hangers-on. You know, Hollywood types and other poseurs.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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