Out of a maelstrom of fuzzed-out guitar, swirling organ, thundering drums, and schizophrenic howls comes the debut EP from RAVAGES, ‘Seven to the Four’. Written and recorded in Beijing amongst rolling lockdowns and venues closing left right and center, ‘Seven to the Four’ serves up four tracks of immediate, full-throttle psych garage, brewed up and honed on hidden stages and secret shows in the Chinese capital’s underground. These four little witty vignettes of worry capture all the energy, anxiety, sweat, and stale booze of those strange days in Peking.
RAVAGES consist of four veterans of Beijing’s underground scene, drawing on a shared love of gritty psychedelic and garage punk, drawing comparisons to The Monks, The Blues Explosion, Thee Milkshakes, King Khan and The Shrines, Captain Beefheart, and The Doors. Lyrically the subject matter ranges from unknowingly selling your soul to the devil (the title track ‘Seven to the Four’), battling crippling paranoia (‘Blackout Blues’), trying to mentally escape the inevitable onset of nuclear war through alcohol abuse and promiscuous copulation (‘Delerium Tremens’), and getting involved in a swingers party that takes a sudden turn for the macabre (‘Cellar’). In each instance, there’s a good measure of cutting sarcasm and dark irony to put a smile on the dial of all the doom and gloom within.
A truly international effort, the EP was recorded by Fred Shi (Macondo) at Shabby Road Studios, Beijing, mixed by Paul Newbury (Rocket Science) in Melbourne, Australia, and mastered by Jim Diamond (The Dirtbombs/ The White Stripes/ Ghetto Recorders) in Detroit, USA. The artwork is based on a linocut print by Beijing based Spanish artist and writer Ana Padilla Fornieles. Doubling down on the DIY ethos of the artwork and aesthetic the cassette version of the EP was hand-painted, assembled, and dubbed by Daftpop Sounds in Beijing.
Simply put, RAVAGES’ ‘Seven to the Four’ is a postcard of fuzz-drenched fitfulness for audiences to smirk at for years to come.