(We are honored to bring you this review, epitaph, and fictional imagining from Professor D. Grover the XIIIth in honor of the last gasp of Ireland’s I’ll Eat Your Face.)
Greetings and salutations, friends. Your Esteemed Professor has returned, albeit briefly, to mourn the passing of a personal favorite band, that dastardly Irish prog/grind duo known as I’ll Eat Your Face. A few of you, peering back through the mists of time to the heyday of The Number Of The Blog, will recall that the band’s 2010 release Irritant appeared, almost from the æther, and promptly seized the top spot on my year-end album list. Since that day, I have kept in touch with The Boy and Barrytron, the two miscreants whose cartoonish musical misadventures fill the brief discography of I’ll Eat Your Face, and thus was saddened to receive notice from the both of them that they were laying their project to rest and going their separate ways.
Now, I suspect this won’t be the last that we hear from these fanciful lads. Barrytron is, to my knowledge, still manning the skins in [r]evolution of a sun and also drumming for the delightfully odd StreisBAND, a hardcore band that does Streisand covers with only drums and vocals. And The Boy, well, he’s currently pursuing his PhD, but I suspect that he may pick up his guitar again somewhere down the line.
However, the pair have left us a final parting gift in the form of The Life And Work Of Jean Vauvais, a five-and-a-half-minute concept EP available for free on Bandcamp. The story is patently bizarre, in true I’ll Eat Your Face fashion, and I’ve included the entire thing below for your reading pleasure, but in short, it details the story of a man getting drunk at the beach and imagining himself as a famous deep sea diver. The EP’s three tracks play out a bit like The Ocean’s Pelagial on angel dust, featuring a similar aquatic journey distilled into a brief, spasmodic burst.
Don’t let the short run-time fool you, though, as there is plenty of substance present due in large part to the strength of the instrumentation. Bizarre though the band’s output is, there is no mistaking that these two gentlemen are extremely talented and versatile musicians, and they are putting that versatility on full display with this EP. The Boy’s guitars writhe and twist like live serpents, running through a dizzying array of riffs in an incredibly short span and smoothly switching from lumbering sludge to blistering grind at a moment’s notice. The production, as always, is impeccable, with the guitars sounding so heavy that I find myself wondering how they achieved such a sound without the use of a bass. And Barrytron once again serves notice that his drum skills are criminally underrated, whether it’s the incredible variety he manages to inject into the absurdly up-tempo grind moments or the impressive restraint showed in the somber closing moments. It’s a shame that the band’s music is such an acquired taste, because their gifts are simply breathtaking.
It is with no small sadness in my heart that I bid this wonderfully odd band a fond farewell. I wish both gentlemen the best of luck in their future endeavors, and I am grateful for getting the opportunity to know the both of them over the last few years. You really should check out this EP, and if you haven’t heard their other albums, you should check them out as well. Irritant is a free download, and the last full-length, Hot Brains Terror, can be streamed for free and purchased inexpensively. In the words of the honorable Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, I’ll Eat Your Face were high-powered mutants of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.
“A man with a haggard face wearing a dishevelled Ace of Base t-shirt is at the beach on a dull, cold day. He walks alone, smokes fags, and skims the occasional stone. He walks out into the water with his pants rolled up.
“He then quickly downs the bottle of red wine he is carrying in a series of impressively vigorous gulps. The wine is called ‘Excelsior’ and the label carries a picture of a camel whilst the word ‘fruity’ is spelled incorrectly. It also says “double imported” on the crest, which depicts an eagle.The man becomes instantly totalized by the sudden alcohol intake and collapses into a babbling heap in the shallow water.
“His mind transports him to the inside of a brass diving suit, as his body and soul morph into the celebrated and fictional Jean Vauvais: French deep-sea expeditionizer and discoverer of the Whalecrab, Lurching Eel Shark, and the fearsome Angling Seahorse. The familiar scenario plays out in the usual way, with Jean descending deep into the ocean as he commands the diving suit with confidant ease.
“Further and further. Darker and darker.
“The explorer stares wide-eyed from the suit’s circular window hole. Hoping to capture footage of the revolting multi-legged eyeball creatures from a previous visit, he steels himself from inside his anti-pressure overwear. Descending constantly, Vauvais reaches and probes the lightless surroundings with his pincer limb attachments. He floats down rudderless, coasting in a timeless & formless black soup. Infinity from every direction, alone in a land of blind, thrilling underwater terror. As he drops lower and lower he begins to faintly see the twinkling of darting eyes as his heart starts to race. Can it be? He needs to get closer.
“Meanwhile, back on the beach the drunk man-husk is still out cold. The tide is going out and a heavy fog is gathering. A few feet away some track-suited teenagers are laughing and drinking cans of cheap Polish lager, occasionally throwing the empties in his direction. The man has pissed himself and there is sand and seagull shit in his hair.”