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Renfield - Help is Coming

A band that name themselves after Tom Waits' lunatic performance in "Bram Stoker's Dracula" is going to be a bit on the edge, how mad they are will depend on certain factors. Influences are the first, this lot sound like the musical equivalent of a multi-car crash involving the tour-buses of Primus and Fishbone, Tom Waits' car with Captain Beefheart in the boot, an ambulance full of jazz musicians on their way to the madhouse after a lifetime of overindulging (in everything) and a limo containing a classical violinist who is brain damaged in the crash. (phew!)

The vocals yell, growl, funk, skank and do a hell of a lot of other things that are pretty much indescribable. The rhythm section is tight and show that they are so comfortable and aware of the "1" and the "2", that most of the time they throw in "3s", "4s", "5s" and now and again a "6" or "7"! The violin screeches and screams and then magically transforms into a fiddle for a quick hooley (ye-haw). This is filled out by a loud and brassy horn section and, finally, best of all, NO guitars (Primus, take note).

Then of course, there is the subject matter to take into account to find their position on the scale of lunacy - there's stalking ("I've been watching your house"), Warner Bros. cartoons ("Wabbit season"), the Bionic Man and Woman (in a quiz show format), Sesame Street ("1,2,3,4-5", etc.), comic books and lots more strange and wonderful things.

In short, Renfield are at the very top of the lunacy scale. They make Brad Pitt in "Twelve Monkeys" seem like an accountant. "Help is Coming" is pure, unadulterated craziness and it is brilliant. This is the best piece of musical madness since Tom Waits joined Primus to sing about a horny cat. Unmissable.

by Donnacha DeLong