Review: Action Beat – The Condition

Anyone searching for pointers on how the essence of a raucous live performance can be brought into the recorded format could do wore than to turn their ears in the direction of Action Beat’s The Condition. In terms of its composition and the execution of its performance, it’s clear that the band aim to turn the crowd into a heaving mass of limb and sweat and fabric, jostling aggressively for space while in the midst of a collective, ferocious state of ecstasy – the instruments behave in precisely the same way, with guitars yelping in territorial proclamation while pushing violently back against the dual drum attack pressing in from both sides. The occasional appearance of voices within the din remind the listener that there are actual human bodies in the midst of the noise, and more alarming still, that those human bodies are the core energy force behind it.

The “songs” veer between two-minute cathartic blackouts and the slower-burning periods of recharge, through which pinch harmonics and hi-hat ticks drag an exhausted Action Beat up from the floor again – undeniably punk in its scratchy tones and loose dissonance, while toppling head-first into anarchic noise during those moments that song-form ungracefully disappears beneath crash cymbal and feedback. Fans of the rattling, buzzing eruptions of Sonic Youth and Lightning Bolt take note; this is one for those who want their music to engulf the body and mercilessly chew it up, reducing the listener to a limp heap of exhaustion over the course of its hour’s playing time.