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Dragged Up - Hex Domestic

Dragged Up Hex Domestic EP coverComprising members from a number of Glasgow based band including Trembling Bells, Vom, The Owsley Sunshine and Las Mitras, Dragged Up's "off-kilter psych-garage proto-punk" is as diverse as it is fun. As much as that description rings true the Hex Domestic EP seems to inhabit an imaginary period when scuzzy US alternative rock met with the spirited enthusiastic approach of Scotland's post C86 groups. It's not that Dragged Up are plagiarising anyone but their assorted make-up leads to a mish-mash of influences, where occasionally one set rises above the other within their infectious lo-fi music.

Drenched in fuzzed up dynamics, chugging strum and ragged harmonies, the title track boasts one of the finest opening lines: "The kids round here are weird, Try not to look them in the eye". It's a tale about a secluded and locked in Occultist. "They call me witch, witch, witch", they sing in unison over a track which could be part Sonic Youth and part DIY indie. Voices converge over the psych slide guitar twang of 'Fairytale In The Super Arcadia' before slipping into a catchy back-to basics riff and onwards into indie bubblegum pop harmonies. It's a treat of sing-speak and overlapping voices and chants and that's before it runs off into psych noise loaded with a bass throb groove.

Elsewhere, there's 'Hurricane' bounding along like wild-eyed hyperactive indie kids channelling the Shop Assistants and the closing 'Blaming The Weather'. It might not have been apparent but amidst the collection of assorted musicians is writer and performer Lisa Jones who supplies some great twisted and odd lyrics. 'Blaming The Weather' features some wry storytelling about a weather beaten recluse who steps out into the sunshine... Sure Jones's Scottish accented soft-spoken word shares an affinity with the likes of Arab Strap and Belle and Sebastian but here it's delivered over gorgeous psych-country twang punctuated by other voices and harmonies swelling into an expansive bass heavy and distorted crescendo.

I've already caught Dragged Up live and they were a joy, and they elicited more comparisons than mentioned here. Hell, I only chanced upon a listen as I was intrigued by a group that could include members of both noiseniks Vom and folk rock psychedelicists Trembling Bells but this is a group where each member brings something different and where they go next, who knows but for now this is just the best. The Hex Domestic EP is released digitally and on tape from Cruel Nature Records bandcamp