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A Magazine for Sheffield

Fruits - The Tye Die Tapes Recordings

I first met Blood Sport early last summer, a hyperactive trio of young men in the beer garden of the West End flitting through subjects of conversation even faster than their music moves through areas of influence. Watching them play that night I was impressed by the way they carried the raw energy of post-punk into something altogether greater, a complex battery of affected vocals, instruments and Sub-Saharan polyrhythms. Carried over from the punk side was a certain amount of unneccesary attitude and bile that felt a little laid on during a summer's evening in a pub, but overall I was excited by the potential of the band.

Fast forward nine months and Blood Sport are an evolved beast, delving deeper into their African influences, developing as musicians and shedding the less favourable aspects of their punk influences whilst still being able to wield its energy when the music requires. The playing on the new recordings is simultaneously more complex and less showy, and the whole affair has got a lot more groove to it. Most noticeable is the way the guitar lines have moved further into their own sound, a complex rhythmic jingle-jangle that reminds me of Congolese veterans Kasai Allstars, but with Western cadences and distortions. This all cascades in lengthy patterns over an onslaught of ever-changing rhythms by drummer Sam Parkin to unique effect.

Opener 'Palomar' builds nicely, with energy slowly developing from looping guitar lines intertwining over an intricate beat, reminding me for a moment of Talking Heads until the band takes an abrupt turn into a wailing instrumental that cleverly ebbs and flows between ultra tight and loose through the band's admirable mastery of delay and reverb. '20202016' continues in the same style and key, with a faster tempo combined with a rather more frenetic drumbeat that stumbles over itself throughout upping the energy levels. This is the kind of track that has people dancing like idiots at Blood Sport's unbroken gigs.

'Warm Hammer' is a marked change in mood, showcasing a more introspective side of the band, with less afrobeat influences and more linear guitar lines. I won't pretend I could hear the lyrics past all the effects, but the song carries a powerful emotional element different to their other material. 'Ode to Finn and Jake' returns to the jaunty rhythms and riffing of afrobeat with some swaggering slow chords, before culminating in a maelstrom of noise that holds all the more power on these recordings due to the restraint shown elsewhere.

If this is a 'transition' release then I'm frothing at the prospect of what's next from this band.