Before the all girl grunge acts and riot grrrl, there was one particularly memorable band from London that was known for their misanthropic female vocalist and raw music. Daisy Chainsaw was composed of Katie Jane Garside, guitarist Crispin Gray (real name John Orion), bassist Richard Adams and Canadian drummer Vince Johnson. Their live performances were the talk of journalists who cited Garside as quite the mental case due to her antics on stage which included, but was not limited to, drinking juice from baby bottles and drilling doll heads. Today I will be highlighting their debut album, “Eleventeen,” which was released in 1992.
As someone who was first a fan of Queen Adreena, Garside and Gray's reunion project after Daisy Chainsaw dissolved, the differences in sound and vocal style is quite jarring. First, there aren't any sweet vocals to contrast with the harsher style in this album; she still has great range using various intonations to accentuate the prevailing emotion in the songs. An example of this is the first song on the album titled, “I Feel Insane,” where it starts out with her laughing like a mentally disturbed person and in-between lyrics she makes indiscernible noises to stress that notion. Lyrics are screamed or sung softly with a violent undercurrent waiting to break free during the next verse. That's basically how every song is done with obvious differences based on each one's atmosphere.
The instrumentals are a mixture between noise and punk rock. Very chaotic and aggressive guitar work, solid rock drumming, and audible bass the holds them all together. Though most of the tracks sound more punk than noise, there are four songs that do break that mold. First being, “Natural Man,” which is sung by a male band member and it has only a very bluegrass acoustic guitar playing to accompany the vocals. Second is “Use Me Use You,” which is close to an eerily abstract, but beautiful, noise track. The last two, “Waiting For The Wolves” and “Everything is Weird,” are very relaxed, bordering on serene, and whimsical rock songs. There is an unidentifiable quirky sense of humor that shines through in every aspect of those two and I'm very much in-love with it.
Despite that, there is one song that is the star of the album for me. “Hope Your Dreams Come True” starts out as a very slow and sexy song. It builds up at a luxurious pace to a very anti-climatically peaceful segment that ends abruptly in short lived chaos and release at the song's end.
There is no set lyrical theme to this album, but if I were categorize it, I would say that it is very introspective with references to human interaction on a social level. Nothing political or especially gruesome, but the perspective they provide is definitely insightful. With that said, you're just going to have to give this a listen yourself to see what I mean!
Daisy Chainsaw – I Feel Insane Link source
Daisy Chainsaw – Hope Your Dreams Come True Link source
Daisy Chainsaw – Natural Man Link source
Daisy Chainsaw – Use Me Use You Link source