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Life in Units

There are very few bands around who can claim to have anything bordering on original, but by melding afrobeat and African guitar styles with post-punk, Blood Sport have created a sound which they dub ‘aggro-beat’. Formed over a mutual love of Byrne & Eno’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, Sam, Alex and Nick have slowly been garnering praise since Blood Sport’s inception in 2010, but with only a few releases under their belts (Ø, Fruits & the oft forgotten Journal No.4), it’s safe to say they don’t like to rush things. Indeed, there has always been a sense of meticulous planning and intricate dedication about the trio’s approach to making music.

As a live band they create a continuous wall of sound which blends and adapts to their surroundings, improvising and experimenting around a core structure. This is a difficult feat to recreate on record, but with their debut LP Life in Units they manage to produce six songs which work equally well as a continuous narrative as they do separate entities, brimming with freshness and vitality.

Opening with ‘The Woodcutter’, it’s immediately apparent that we’re in for something a bit different. Crackling and spluttering into existence, distorted vocal snarls merge with a linear beat, but there’s something distinctly darker lurking beneath. Initially it looks like they’ve opted for a more minimalist approach, but if you listen closely you can hear the delicate layering and experimentation throughout. ‘Palamor’ and ‘20202016 VIP’ progress the sound. Both have increased in length since their previous incarnations, and in true Blood Sport fashion, don’t expect them to sound exactly as they did before. The trio are constantly refining and developing their music whilst the hypnotically tantalising beats still remain.

‘Dolla Make Me Holla’ sees a more spacey jazz fusion approach, but a sense of foreboding still remains. Whirring guitars seep slowly into this abyss as the noise gradually develops, oscillating between an all-out jam and perpetual motion. ‘Percolator’ is a percussion heavy up-tempo leap into the imagination, and the epic, rambling dirge of ‘Dry Water’ is a journey into the unknown. Mark E Smith would be proud.

Nothing Blood Sport do is by chance, and with Life in Units they have constructed an experimental behemoth which bears new fruit on every listen.