by Thomas Patterson

11 June 2003



The Best New Relentless Post Punk Noise with a Political Edge Ow My Ears Are Bleeding But Look at Me Ma, I’m Dancing! Band

Ferocity is an underestimated quality in rock. I’m not talking about heaviness or loudness (hell, buy the right equipment and you’re almost there on those two fronts) or even physical violence but that unrelenting, almost indefinable undercurrent of danger and threat possessed by only a few special bands. The Clash and the Jesus Lizard both had it; Liars and the Blood Brothers both have it now. And you can add Lomax to that list, because Lomax are ferocious.

A kind of feral English cousin of the punk/funk bands currently marching out of Brooklyn, Lomax take the brittle anger of Suicide, Killing Joke and PiL, stab it with a bloody big knife and then slap down a booty shaking krautrock bass underneath. Consisting of sound-engineer come guitarist Paul R. Epworth, bassist Jon Meade (formerly of all-bass trio Rothko) and drummer Robert Sehultzberg (an ex-member of whiny glam wankers Placebo), the East London-based noisemongers have spent the past twelve months refining their agitated sound by supporting the likes of French Kicks and the Rapture on a seemingly non-stop tour of Britain’s seedier venues. Watching Lomax live is an enervating experience. Chords are not so much played as slaughtered, and lyrics are screamed with criminal force. Keyboards are assaulted, slogans are barked, and the band’s neck muscles and veins seem to be constantly strained from the adrenaline and blood lust, all three of them looking more like American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman in the middle of a frenzied attack than fledgling rock stars. Quite frankly, twenty-minutes in their company leaves both them and us knackered and bruised. They’re a little less exhausting on vinyl and their two singles to date tone down the live cacophony in favor of less visceral, dub and bass heavy melodies that play up a political edge sorely lacking in most of their contemporaries—the throbbing “Anglicized” is a rejection of the racist yob mentality that demonizes asylum seekers whilst “Brought to Rights” is a bitter anti-war polemic strictly in the tradition of Gang of Four and the Pop Group. Both bode well for Lomax’s first full-length record, currently under construction and due for release at the start of 2004. If Lomax spend the rest of the year further tightening up their already intense act, their album should be one of the best debuts in a long, long time. In fact, it should be ferocious.

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