Review: Territorial Gobbing – Police Costume (Beartown, Jun 28)

I almost didn’t check out Police Costume because I had the audacity to believe I knew exactly what to expect from Theo Gowans’s prolific Territorial Gobbing project. This was a poor instinct, and luckily one I didn’t end up following. Sure, there are the typical irreverent gargles and rough-edged collaging one (quickly) grows to love, but overall the Leeds art brut master’s response to the absurdity of authoritarian, militaristic police is a uniquely colorful affair, matching the bright, saturated cartoon cover penned by Zad Kokar. “…Or How I Learnt to Stop Sitting on Benches and Love the Cops” is a surprisingly focused bit of noise, and its vivid, vibrant palette of whipping electronics and malfunctioning circuits serves as one of the most exemplary contradictions of the established Territorial Gobbing formula I thought I had all figured out. On the next two tracks Gowans falls further back into his bag of tricks, yet keeps the energy level high with hyperactive re-arrangements and an unsettling amount of volatile, deranged anger behind every saliva-splattering utterance. Something else added is the increased presence of intelligible spoken word, which somehow only seems to add to the confusion and delirium of the proceedings (especially in the case of whatever one? two? three? -sided conversation is happening on “Mic Check One”). Don’t make the same I mistake I almost did; when Gowans is involved, in the words of VJ Emmie, “EXPECT DA UNEXPECTABLE.”

Physical copies of Police Costume are also available from Beartown’s website.

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