Last week I snatched away the -at least for now- very last Amazon copy of Nude With Demon, the debut album by UK’s The Web Of Lies. On their bandcamp, as well as on their label Wrong Speed Records the albums have also gone so I guess for promotional purposed this review is pretty darn void. And yet, if you haven’t been informed about this record I feel strongly compelled to right that wrong for you.
So what’s going on? The Web Of Lies is a duo of British musicians with a great network of likeminded souls who together forged a unique amalgamation of jingly jangly 60s garage rock, 90s noise punk, and freakish folk antics. It’s like they dug up the corpses of The Velvet Underground, took them for a dive and met up with Sonic Youth for an underwater garage noise rock jam. I’m just dropping those references to give your ears something to hold on to because in reality it is rather hard to reference Nude With Demon to anything but itself, and that is also its strongest power.
You need to work on your relationship with this album, then it will reveal itself. The songs usually rely on heavy angular riffing, rather than steady verse/chorus structures which makes the album a tough nut to crack at first, but a very playable album at the same time that will open up slowly and gradually while you spin the hell out of it. Its many layers, contributed by its many guest players will one by one unfurl themselves and the album will in time become like a good friend, always ready for an insightful conversation and plenty of depth.
The Web Of Lies, like their label mates Haress, have delivered a unique piece of modern guitar music that puts their home Wrong Speed Records at the forefront of record labels to watch this year and the next. Make sure to jump on the bandwagon soon though, because their records sell out in no time. Don’t say you weren’t warned!
The Web Of Lies is Edwin Stevens and Neil Robinson together with an array of other musicians that Edwin will introduce when I talk to him through the internet. Please take your time to learn about this amazing bunch of artists and check out their other music as well!
How have you guys been lately? How has the covid period been for the band?
I can’t speak for Neil- I know he’s finishing the new Buffet Lunch album, so I’m going to assume he’s doing good. I see him post loads of pictures of nice hills and nature and mushrooms and that, which is nice. I’m having the month from Hell but looking forward to doing some nice stuff soon. We put the record together during covid, recording all the main bits at the arse end of 2020 and at the start of 2021. It was shit but I’m glad we got a record done.
Can you tell me about your musical backgrounds?
I’ve been lucky enough to play in a fair few bits over the years; Irma Vep (a solo thing) and Yerba Mansa (a duo with Andrew Cheetham) are probably the most consistent ‘projects’, or whatever. I play a bit of guitar in The Birthmarks when I can, we are unfortunately separated by a few hundred miles but I love it.
I first met Neil when he was drumming with a band called Hyacinth Girl in Manchester over ten years ago. He moved to London and played with loads of people, I won’t list them all, he’s a class act and a much sought after legend. We met again when he moved to Edinburgh (has since moved to Glasgow, where I now live) and was playing bass with his current group, Buffet Lunch who are an amazing band.
All the contributors on the record have rich musical histories that should be dived deep into:
Jess Higgins, who sings, is an artist living in Glasgow who played in an amazing band called Vital Idles as well as doing her own solo work. Rory Maclean who plays bass on Receiver also played with them. He has new project called Essen which is very claaasss.
Kathy Gray who also sings on the album currently plays in two amazing things called Nape Neck and Mia La Metta (her solo stuff). I met her years ago playing in a legendary No Wave group called Beards.
Dylan Hughes, who sings on The Golden Road is my closest friend from back home in Wales. We used to play in the bands Klaus Kinski and Sex Hands together. He’s the main song writer in The Birthmarks and released his own solo album last year called Imaginary Shelves.
DBH who plays violin on The Golden Road has played with too many people to list. He is a true musical genius. He played on nearly all my solo records. His albums under the name DBH are all incredible and can be found via Thread Recordings.
Tim Bishop is this weird guy I know from back in Wales who played in loads of bands in the eighties. Y Legs is the most popular of his groups.
Neil Campbell is an absolute legend who’s discography is deep and mental and varied, it’s a joy to get into. He plays with Vibracathedral Orchestra and his own solo Astral Social Club, two of my absolute favourite groups of all time (amongst loads and loads and loads of other things)
How did you find each other to start this magical band called The Web Of Lies?
Neil and I were recruited by our friend Doig to help him play some shows with his project, Robert Sotelo and I really loved playing with him. I demoed a solo record during lockdown and had some songs left over that I felt didn’t suit the ‘feel’ of the album and thought Neil would be good to play on them, and that’s when I decided to start this project.
The band has a very distinctive sound, its quite hard to pinpoint… how did your “sound” come into existence?
I’m not really sure. The guitars are tuned to different octaves of two notes, usually either C or G or or D or F. It depends on the song. I can’t remember properly. Maybe it’s something to do with that? Neil is really good at keeping the song solid and consistent and listenable. I’m not very good at that.
The guests we have on the record are all incredible and singular artists in their own right. I’m very grateful for the music they contributed and help make the record what it is. I think that they all bring their own unique voice to the album and song by song take it to places I wouldn’t necessarily expect.
What is your connection to Chris Summerlin and Wrong Speed Records?
My friend Tom House sent Chris the record who then sent it to Joe Thompson who then said they would like to put it out, which was great. We also stayed with Chris at his home in Nottingham when we were on tour with Robert Sotelo. A lovely man. They’re both really nice guys and I’m very grateful to be able to put the stuff out with them.
How did you decide on the band name? Will your answer be a lie and is there a way to know?
No word of a lie: I wanted to use the name for a while; I had made an album called Irma Vep & The Web of Lies – We Don’t Talk About It, where the underlying theme was kind of all about repression through guilt and the aftermath of that. I felt the name was quite powerful, imagery wise, or something, hence why I used it for this. It’s an umbrella for a smorgasbord of non stop idiot thoughts.
I find the cover art very intriguing, it’s reminds me of the Guernica in a way 🙂 Who did it and how does it relate to the music?
Thank you, that’s nice! I made it. Some of it is taken from a collage I did for a poster for a friend of mine ages ago, and other bits were taken from just stuff I had been messing around for a while on photoshop and that.
I wanted it to be like looking at a map, it has bits from the songs in it. The peace sign on the upside down Dante’s 9 layers of hell thing is a nod to the peace sign that was painted on the mountain where I grew up in Llanfairfechan, North Wales… I don’t know what else to say about it really…Seasons In The Abyss is my favourite Slayer album, that’s why I drew that on there. That was going to be the actual cover but I chickened out. I like the art for Fall albums and Country Teasers records where there’s loads of writing on it. I like words as art on album covers and stuff. I just ripped them off really.
What does an average day look like in the lives of the members of the band? Do you jam a lot for instance?
We’re not really a ‘band’. More of a duo, recording project or something. Me and Neil record stuff when we can and email it to guests and hope they’re up for it. I can’t speak for everyone else, but an average day for me is farting about with my one year old or going to work at the pub.
What are your immediate future plans? And what is “the dream”?
Immediate plans are to record a new album. We’re both finishing off other projects at the minute. The songs are written, it’s just a case of going to Neil and seeing what he thinks. “The dream” is to hopefully one day play live. Neil isn’t up for it, and my life is too hectic at the moment to fathom getting people together to play as a full band. Maybe after the next album when we have a few more songs to pull from I’ll see who’s up for it and try and play some shows and all that.
What should the Weirdo Shrine readers do immediately after reading this interview?
Have a nice day!