CD, Elm Lodge, 2007
Roughly a year passed between the release of Soiled’s debut album, “Nil By Visual”, and the follow-up sophomore “Shambolic Psychotic”, which may seem like a very short time to come up with what is often considered to be the “difficult second album” which can confirm or not the talent of an artist after the debut release. This solid new release falls in the former category.
In what is more than a simple follow-up, Marcus H. picks up immediately where he left off in the previous album and, in addition to a solid offering of the his characteristic, proceeds to explore other aural possibilities with his signature composition techniques. From the raw sound of the seemingly chaotic “Breakdown” and “Night Van Kidnap”, Soiled takes “Shambolic Psychotic” full circle on itself with “Where We Too?” alternatively drifting between his characteristic manic compositions and oppressive melancholic tracks like “Steve’s Self: Lost In Transit”. “Just Beginning” shares this melancholy but borders on the oppressive psychotic and “IKiller” wouldn’t be totally out of place in an avant-garde theatre production. In any case, there is almost a sense of longing and attachment permeating some of these compositions, complementing the sense of decay of things past whose utility in the present has been superseded, imprinting the whole album with a certain timelessness.
For those already familiar with Soiled’s work, this is indeed familiar ground: raw and dirty looped percussion entwined with minimal processed guitar chords with the occasional simple melody and intelligently repeated vocal samples. On the whole, “Shambolic Psychotic” flows quite well, despite the abrupt termination of some tracks, as if their point had been made and their useful life had been expended, but even this adds to the overall appeal of this album.
There’s a distinct and uncompromising rawness to Soiled’s music, keeping in line with the ethos of punk and DIY culture which seem to form the core of Marcus H.’s influences. For those looking for comparisons, his raw and dirty compositions certainly wouldn’t be out of place among musicians such as Carthage, Mothboy or the Disco_r.dance experimental music crew but remain distinct and highly original and may even have serious alternative/mainstream appeal. Soiled is probably one of the more obscure (and thankfully unpolished) jewels of British fringe experimentalism whose music as a whole (not just “Shambolic Psychotic”) deserves to be discovered and appreciated.
— Miguel de Sousa