Gabe is a Unit describe themselves as a ‘destructive Welsh two man outfit’ and my first introduction to them was through the video for ‘Stressful Evening’. If you’ve ever eaten too much cheese before going to bed, or had lucid dreams whilst running a dangerously high temperature, then the visuals will be familiar to you: a duck in a jacket and a sailor’s hat is reminded not to forget it’s melon by a horse in a dress. The ensuing song starts with a gentle waltz-time intro that the band then demolish with a scorched-earth maelstrom of screaming and distortion with sympathetic visuals of the horse destroying the melon with a sledgehammer.
This self-titled EP from Ben Wilson (Drums) and Ben Mason (guitar) features four tracks that, while disparate, have punk burning at their core. The Instrumental ‘Pissed God (Wibbly Wobbly)’ is an asymmetrical lollop featuring a wonky rolling guitar part and bursts of fuzz and kit rolls. ‘Dinas Vawr’ takes its text from Thomas Love Peacock’s 1829 poem ‘The War-song of Dinas Vawr’ and the band mix gentle tuneful valleys with passages of ground shaking power chords and thunderous drums over the sonorous voice of Wayne John reading terrifying lines like “We there, in strife bewild’ring, Spilt blood enough to swim in: We orphaned many children, And widowed many women”. The EP closes with ‘I’ve Had an Absolutely Marvellous Evening Babes’ and it brings a dreamlike nausea from mixing childlike dissonance in the music with creepy middle-class dinner party commentary.
Gabe Is A Unit have tapped into the surrealism of The Mighty Boosh or the Fast Show and fused it with the power of metal and grunge. There’s humour and anger in the music and I admire the confidence they have in throwing spoken word and humour into the same pot as laid-back playing and waves of deep distortion. It made me feel a little uncomfortable at first listen but I enjoyed the sensation; like someone has fitted nitrous-oxide to a beaten-up 1970s Bedford Van and then driven it at 100 mph; it doesn’t feel safe but it feels bloody exciting.
Ben Wilson: Drums , Vocals on track 1
Ben Mason: Guitars, Vocals on track 4
Wayne John: Vocals on Dinas Vawr
Review by Paul F Cook