Back in 2010 Dan Reeves from Brighton trio Cold Pumas wrote a piece for Dummy entitled A love letter to repetition. “You wanna hear things go on forever, just because it can. You want to see what happens when something doesn’t stop. You want to convert people,” he wrote. Back then, along with fellow noise-channellers Male Bonding and Fair Ohs, Cold Pumas were regulars fixtures on the scuzzy DIY scene that circled London label/promoters Upset The Rhythm. They played sweaty basements and put out 7“s with surprisingly tender artwork.
Two years on, it’s a joy to hear that the punk-loving band haven’t strayed from their mission: new song Fog Cutter, the first from the long-in-the-coming debut album ‘Persistent Malaise’, is that feeling distilled to its purest form. And somewhat startlingly, perhaps because it sticks out like a proud and stubborn sore thumb amongst the onslaught of experimental pop, electronic sketches and generally directionless ambience, it sounds like the sharpest lick of autumnal breeze. Shockingly, cheek-stingingly, refreshing.
In essence a live loop of a riff and an incessant drum beat with a barely intelligible vocal over the top, like a voice in a dream, Fog Cutter marches forward with such conviction that you can’t help but get swept up. You wanna go where they’re going, wherever they’re going. It’s the belief they have in brutal simplicity that allows them to build a pleasurable tension that isn’t released until the final quarter of the track, and all it takes is the gentlest of chord changes to set off the serotonin.
There’s something of Transmission’s knitted-brow focus to Fog Cutter, albeit without the inevitable bittersweet sinking feeling. For while Cold Pumas also have eyes, hearts and minds on obliteration, it’s of the sonic kind and the mind-emptying relief that repetition can bring. The restorative power of prioritising sensation over sentience, and the salvation that comes when you let the music seep in to fill the void. Most of all, though, it’s a much-needed reminder that getting lost can get you found.