The quirky Leeds quartet ¡Forward, Russia! pursues a spasmodic approach reminiscent of Art Brut, We Are Scientists, Bloc Party, and the Futureheads. Scouring through Prodigy's '90s post-punk concoctions, siblings Katie Nicholls (drums) and Whiskas (guitar), alongside formerly Black Helicopters castaways Tom Woodhead (vocals and synths) and Rob Canning (bass), shimmer and shake artfully. Jittery vocal exchanges display desperation, anxiety, and exasperation.
Giving each tidy track a numeric title (to reflect the order in which the cuts were completed), ¡Forward, Russia! has undeniably improved along the way, producing a deeper convulsion by the time it reaches the haunting "Nineteen."
"Fifteen Part One" collides stammering stoner-rock riffs straight out of Queens of the Stone Age into the stormy rhythmic dynamics of Fugazi. "Seventeen," a rambling sugar rush, is ruggedly enthralling in its squalor, as is the soaring, vibes-gleaming dazzler "Eighteen." Sometimes the hyperbolic caterwauling and shrill falsetto leaps are overbearingly strident (sounding like the Cure's Robert Smith on a bender), but there's nary a boring moment.