- In case you were wondering, that's Ansome on the cover of his new EP, naked but for gloves, kneepads, shoes and red-tinted sunnies. And the word inscribed on that thing he's holding in front of his groin—a hammer? an axe?—may or may not be "cunt." There is presumably some self-deprecation at play in the image, but there's also a pungent, leering masculinity to it. There was a similar feeling to the exposed gent on the cover of a previous Perc Trax EP, 2015's The White Horse.
That image dovetailed with the world evoked in Ansome's track titles, a grim old Britain of "Bad Blood" and "Stowaway"s and "Grave Digger Figure"s. Women, when they feature, are prostitutes ("Back Alley Sally") or fairground attractions ("Bearded Lady"). This fantasy Victoriana isn't meant to be anything but grotesque, of course, but it may make you uneasy nonetheless. This colours the experience of the music. Perhaps all that distortion and shouting isn't particularly subversive, or even joyous, but just boorish macho thrusting? There's no conclusive answer, of course, but you can imagine the post-Perc industrial techno of British Steel appealing to lads wanting to let off steam on a night out.
The EP's four hyper-distorted stompers thunder relentlessly, each more intense and in-yer-face than the last. Ansome engineers the style well, but doesn't bring much imagination to it. "British Steel" is spiced up with a syncopated rhythm, but the 4/4 "Marching Powder" is a slog. "Poison Your Body" and "Granite & Mortar" sound like earlier Powell if his source material weren't angular post-punk but Whitehouse's howling profanity. Feedback and semi-intelligible shouting scythe through the distortion. "Poison Your Body"'s subtle EBM twist is the EP's only mild surprise.
A1 British Steel
A2 Marching Powder
B1 Poison Your Body
B2 Granite & Mortar