HMAS

Perte & Fracas review hMAS – Fear God Honour The King

“Homeless records had already revealed the sublime Stickmen from the same Australian island of Tasmania, in the same city, Hobart, and from the same period (the second part of the ’90s), the Melbourne label unearths hMAS. A strange name that means Her (or His) Majesty’s Australian Service, a prefix used by the Australian navy in tribute to the English crown. I do not know if their name is linked to a sea wind, but this may be a roundabout way of paying tribute to England and its music scene. The Buzzcocks, post-punk, Fire Engines, Television Personalities, Jesus and Mary Chain, and surely many more since Julian Teakle (who wrote some notes on the insert and who made an unsuccessful trial on drums for hMAS) had met Ben Crothers, hMAS guitarist, on the bus, because he wore a Ned’s Atomic Dustbin T-shirt! What more do you want?
But hMAS’ music was not looking only towards the distant Europe. Another island, New Zealand, and the famous Flying Nun label is probably not trivial in the genesis of this group 100% DIY with groups like Bailter Space and Chris Knox. You mix all these influences completely randomly and you get the hMAS album Fear God Honour The King, which languished at the bottom of a cardboard box, the group being very dissatisfied with the quality of the recording and because ultimately the two key members, Ben Crothers and Duncan Robinson (bass) had other things to do with their lives.

But before we get to there and to understand the evolution of hMAS, use the download coupon and follow the beginnings of the group with the tapes Goes Pop! (10 titles) and The Computer Tape (24 titles), far too many tunes, leaving the feeling of an indecent propensity to record everything that went through their heads. Lo-fi home recordings in all its splendor. It’s fine on Goes Pop! where the beginnings of a noisy-pop-punk with beat-box rhythms are felt. However, The Computer Tape is a bunch of endless bontempi tunes for a Moldovan electronic games soundtrack with remixes rotten enough to disgust you forever.
Fortunately, Fear God Honour The King shows a devilishly more attractive face. Matt Barnes is recruited (the ad is transcribed, spelling mistakes included: 2 amatuer punks seek drummer / must be young and insane) on drums and the trio permit themselves to use a real studio to make a proper sound of these acid and noisy nursery rhymes. An album recorded in 1997 for a major backward leap on the time scale, the ’90s and even before, a happy go lucky mixture exploding on the edges. The guitar gets thick, skids, scrapes and makes hMAS’s songs take off in order to spend a few more carefree years. The drums survive in the back (although the group found the cymbals too present), guitar and bass covering the bulk of the mess and the melodies hit you more than once as in the excellent “Fungus” (very Bailter Space) or “Three Shooting Stars”. hMAS knew how to be generous, spontaneous, and noisy (all of this is just the beginning of “Absurd” and the end of “Three Shooting Stars”), cynical and dark with “Friend Is Dead”, fractious and tense.
This disc, even if failing to sound perfect, sometimes inspired, sometimes anecdotal, gives warmth and sympathy to this very ephemeral and local band that Homeless brings to a greater number of ears, a testimony of a life that is very endearing which is merely a reflection of the history of a whole lot of bands who do not have the chance to see the fruits of their labor engraved for eternity.”

Homeless records avait déjà sorti du placard les sublimes The Stickmen. De la même île australienne, la Tasmanie, de la même ville, Hobart, et de la même époque (la deuxième partie des années 90), le label de Melbourne déterre hMAS. Un nom étrange qui signifie Her (or His) Majesty’s Australian Ship, préfixe utilisé par la marine australienne en hommage à la couronne anglaise. Je ne sais pas si leur patronyme est lié à ce vent maritime mais c’est peut-être une façon détournée de rendre également hommage à l’Angleterre et sa scène musicale. Les Buzzcocks, le post-punk, Fire Engines, Television Personalities, Jesus and The Mary Chain et bien d’autres encore sûrement puisque Julian Teakle (qui a rédigé quelques notes sur l’insert et qui fit un essai sans succès à la batterie pour hMAS) avait fait la connaissance dans le bus de Ben Crothers, guitariste de hMAS, parce que ce dernier portait un t-shirt de Ned’s Atomic Dustbin ! Allez donc savoir.
Mais la musique de hMAS ne regardait pas que vers la lointaine Europe. Une autre île et le célèbre label néo-zélandais Flying Nun ne sont sans doute pas anodins dans la genèse de ce groupe 100% Do It Yourself avec des groupes comme Bailter Space et Chris Knox. Vous mélangez avec un dosage complètement aléatoire toutes ces influences et vous obtenez hMAS et l’album Fear God Honour The King qui croupissait au fond d’un carton, le groupe étant fort mécontent de la qualité de l’enregistrement et parce que finalement, les deux principaux membres, Ben Crothers et Duncan Robinson (basse) avaient autre chose de mieux à foutre de leur vie.
Mais avant d’en arriver là et pour bien comprendre l’évolution de hMAS, il faut utiliser le coupon de téléchargement et se taper le tout début du groupe avec les cassettes Goes Pop ! (10 titres) et The Computer Tape (24 titres), soit beaucoup trop de morceaux sentant une indécente e propension à enregistrer tout ce qui leur trottait par la tête. Home recordings lo-fi dans toute sa splendeur. Passe encore pour Goes Pop ! où les prémices d’une noisy-punk-pop déglinguée avec boite à rythmes se font sentir. Par contre, The Computer Tape est un ramassis sans fin de morceaux bontempi pour bande-son de jeux électroniques moldaves avec ses remix aussi pourris pour bien écœurer définitivement.
Heureusement, Fear God Honour The King montre un visage diablement plus avenant. Matt Barnes est recruté (l’annonce est retranscrite, faute comprise : 2 amatuer punks seek drummer/must be young and insane) à la batterie et le trio s’autorise à utiliser un vrai studio pour faire sonner correctement ces comptines acides et bruyantes. Un album enregistré en 1997 pour un grand bond en arrière sur l’échelle du temps, les années 90 et encore avant, un joyeux mélange pétaradant et foutraque sur les bords. La guitare prend de l’épaisseur, dérape, gratte et fait décoller les morceaux de hMAS afin de passer plus allègrement les années. La batterie survie dans le fond (bien que le groupe trouvait les cymbales foutrement trop présentes), guitare et basse se taillant le gros du bordel et les mélodies font mouche plus d’une fois comme sur l’excellent Fungus, très Bailter Space pour le coup ou sur Three Shotting Stars. hMAS savait se montrer généreux, spontané, bruyant voir bruitiste (tout le début de Absurd et la fin de Three Shotting Stars), cynique et sombre avec Friend is Dead, hargneux et tendu.
Ce disque, à défaut de sonner parfaitement, parfois inspiré, parfois anecdotique, confère chaleur et sympathie à ce groupe éphémère et très local que Homeless permet à un plus grand nombre d’entendre, un témoignage d’un bout de vie très attachant qui n’est que le reflet de l’histoire d’une tonne de groupes de part le monde qui eux n’ont pas la chance de voir le fruit de leur travail gravé pour l’éternité.

perte et fracas – chronique disque hMAS

Perte & Fracas – hMAS – Fear God Honour The King – Homeless records


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Did Not Chart review h M A S – Fear God Honour The King

It’s Hobart, Tasmania. It’s the 1990s. Two amateur punks are looking for a drummer who’s young and insane. They abuse an old drum machine until it breaks. They play annoyingly loud songs about swearing and Mexico.

They record an album in 1997. Almost 20 years later there’s a bidding war Homeless fight RIP Society in a pub car park over who can release it. Homeless win.

hMAS sound like the Buzzcocks songs that never made it to 7″. They sound like Bailter Space trying to make sense of heavy metal. They sound like Hawkwind with Kim Deal on bass. And they sound like Wire setting fire to an art school.

No one else was making batshit insane music this good in 1997. Look through Homeless’s or Hozac’s catalogue for who’s making this sort of noise now.

Source: Did Not Chart: hMAS: Fear God Honour The King


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Homeless Comforts

Here at Homeless, we’ve crapped our piss-stained pants in excitement at the launch of our website, on the 2nd anniversary of being Homeless. It was two years ago the Bits of Shit and Homeless combined to kick-start what was once referred to as “Melbourne’s most offensive record label”.

New releases in June include the psych post-punk of Shovels and French veterans of angular and snappy punk, Subtle Turnhips Redhair With Some. These will be followed by Homeless once again diving into Tasmania’s icy waters with The Dacios album, Monkey’s Blood – which Mess+Noise declared “Could Monkeys Blood (damn the missing apostrophe – fixed now by Homeless) be the best Australian rock’n’roll record of the decade? I would like to think that in years to come this album will be regarded as highly as (I’m) Stranded, X-Aspirations, Blood Red River or Life Was Better, but only time will truly tell” plus an outstanding live album by Bird Blobs Back on the Beast and fellow Hobart noise-mongers H.M.A.S. with their unreleased album Fear God Honour The King. You have to hear these three Tassie treats to believe how brilliant they really are.

All of these releases will be limited to just 250-350 copies each, so your best means to not miss out is by entering your email and clicking that little “SUBSCRIBE” button to the right…

Thanks to all that have supported Homeless in our 2 years of existence and please stick with us as we announce a few genuine surprises and new ventures before the end of 2014.


Shovels - ShovelsBird Blobs - Back On The BeastSubtle Turnhips - Redhair With SomeThe Dacios - Monkey's Blood


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