Mr Vast: Touch & Go

November 6th 2015 | Cack Records | Albums

Wevie Stonder frontman and perennial cabbage enthusiast Henry 'Harry' / 'Mr' Vast is back on the menu and all up in your grill with his new offering, 'Touch & Go'. Stripping down production duties to Wevie's longsuffering, soil-pappered one man "beat gardener" Al 'Percy' Boorman QC, the duo take us on a bewildering journey through seven shades of sonic shinola to the furthest acceptable reaches of musical tact and decorum - and beyond.

Employing various live instru-mentalists, the general sound is post-post-Wevie-Cack™ - refined, honed and tightened inside a boiling pair of frightening sports briefs and packaged for the most pendulous of 21st century audio lunchboxes. We can generally expect the unexpected with anything Wevie-related, and quite how Vast manages to confound even fairly open expectations remains one of life's most irritating mysteries.

But confound them he does, with panache and stupidity.

Touch & Go launches the album with a sheer blast of hot, heaving funk and immediately establishes new and highly energised territory. A squealing helium maniac goes bananas over driving bass and hard break, like Liquid Liquid stripped to barest essentials and employing the services of the local paranoid village idiot, as vicious bleeps and analogue warbles take over and result in a thumping, classic Chicago acid grumbler.

Problems with the Light is not 'Thriller' but then what is? A primo funk belter out of nowhere, lyrics voiced by a basso profondo Rasputin. The groove is laggy and lolloping, the filthy malfunctioning bass and irresistible jizzmatic synths casting savage arcs over the beat. This is the earworm motherlode.

The Sting introduces a note of calm after the initial opening double salvo, lulling us with a simple guitar riff and heartwrenching clarinet line over the top. This shift to sudden solemnity and sincerity is jarring and brilliant, reminiscent of the Sun City Girls' extremely poignant 'Charles Gocher Sr' as interpreted by Oliver Postgate via Scarfolk.. Few songs about the death of bees are so moving or nostalgic.

Smudge Cabin is a frenetic clod of genuine lunacy and natural successor to 'Ecstatic Caravan' on Vast's last opus. Like a heavily camped-out B52s, the instrumental version of this track really ought to accompany one of Super Mario Kart's Koopa Beach stages - a holiday advert for a seaside resort where Second Life ghouls are mashed out of their tits on bad drugs, grinning but dying inside, like Cliff Richard's eyes.

Golden Tooth has a fragile, dribbling Marc Bolan impersonator crooning a dirty love song and trying to woo Nicola Sturgeon, having ingested an industrial strength mogadon. A psychedelic trip around the inside of the Bron-Y-Aur cottage gives way to string section and an angelic female vocal drifting in from the aether… before a crippled guitar solo by Eddie Van Halen arrives direct from his porno nursing home for retired alcoholics.

Back to the Buffer breaks in as an ultra-slick "erection section" groover. "Just like you" - NOT like Karen Carpenter, more akin to a constipated dwarf - we have a slo-mo 'Hot Rats' workout filtered through Funkadelic and west coast portamento G-Funk synths. Expressive drum breaks, brassy honk, paranoid Buddhism and a stunning female vocal launching into orbit.

Split the Difference clears the air with a phasing drumpatch, and a thundering beat underpinning a staccato chainsaw snap and surging bass drop. R&B stylings and shimmering bleeps morph into a righteous bangfest of aggressive lasers and general chaos. This is Vast's 'Brag of the Subgenius', but self-deprecating and pulsating with high crossover potential.

Testify wins the prize for the oddest song of 2015 by some distance. The loose snare shufflebeat drives a completely hatstand fable about the etymology of the words "testify" and "testicles". The speaker is a sweaty, bad preacher champing at the bit for filthy references and ponderous double-entendres. German schlager music or straight-laced oomph? Kris Kristofferson's 'Convoy' driving around the Bull Ring in Birmingham on unleashed dodgems covered in pigeon guano.

Inner State - A cock! A bell! A heartbeat! A sylvan ambience! Pumping on a creaking mattress! Is this a Hawk and a Hacksaw dosed up with rank cider and quacking out a ripe old polka? One charlatan's opportunistic sex acts are recounted over Balkanised brass, accordion and increasingly militaristic flute band march. The track also contains the longest note ever held in the history of all recorded music. A whooping Bacchanalian ritual of pure filth, laughter and unbridled joy.

Bottlenose - the year's best lament for a lost ancestor dolphin. Adopting a theatrically posh persona not seen thus far, Vast comes across here as the Great English Eccentric, a modern-day Robert John Godfrey or Robert Calvert speeding out of his own mind. Wait, there's a 'Stairway to Heaven' woodwind section, murky banjos, a clippety-clopping rhythm and Western stylings. As with so many august ditties penned to aquatic mammals, this track ends with a 9-iron.

And so the work concludes. Vast is back - was there any plot to begin with? Smoke on his mindgarden, for you will receive many hidden rewards.

The video for Problems With The Light is below:

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