‘Wanted: eclecticly tasted noise fetishists, must like to party and have a mutual fondness for AIDS Wolf, Unsane and Karp!’ this is not how Divorce got together, “no Musician Wanted ads, ever” says Vickie (McDonald, Guitars). Instead they got out in the world, partied at the same parties, watched the same noise shows. They’re held up as some 21st Century Glaswegian No Wave revivalists, but Andy (Brown, Drums) won’t have any of it, being “vehemently opposed” to any “slavish devotion” this isn’t about replicating a sound. No Wave was a product of a specific time and place, Divorce share the attitude – “purity, honesty and avoiding artificial templates” – but the noise is all their own. The band (completed by VSO on bass and new vocalist, Jennie Fulk) all come with their own ideas and influences, then they “bring it all together and see what happens.” Could you call Divorce, Hardcore, Punk, No Wave, Noise or all of the above? “No” says Andy “we make whatever damn noise we feel like making – fuck genres!” Vickie concurs – “Aye, fuck genres!”
Glasgow, with its vibrant left field and experimental scene, is perfect for Divorce and their anything goes ethic. Being so far from London, Glasgow has always had a very strong independent streak. Perhaps, suggests Andy, nobody feels they need to pander to the press. Divorce just get on with what they do, other people’s perceptions and reactions to it don’t much bother or influence them. Divorce are about open, honest communication, moving forward. It is, says Andy, “Time to create new movements!”
They may not have a full manifesto, but they do have an agenda: Make Noise. Make it Good. Rigidly sticking to a specific genre would “only be an impediment”. An ‘anything goes’ attitude can sometimes mean self-criticism and tension, but it is fertile ground for creativity. Only allowing ideas they 100% like reaps rewards in the long run. Having no main songwriter can result in a long writing process, but ‘Making it good’ is about setting personal and band benchmarks. Having no main songwriter can make it a long writing process, but Making It Good is about setting band benchmarks.
From the clattering drums and overdriven bass of Love Attack to the faster frantic intro of Meating, Divorce know how to settle in to a groove, even if it is a noisy one. They trade in the kind of cyclical rusty edged guitar riffs that seem purpose built to get a pit swirling. Dildine surges back and forth, like a line of rabid, feral horses. Coating everything are Jennie Fulk’s unhinged vocals, weary but angry. The tail end of an almighty screaming fit. Vocally she staggers drunken, and enraged. Preferring a sense of heavy dread (with a core of brutality), to the 30-second lightning strikes favoured by some noise merchants, Divorce demonstrate song writing chops that suggest they could be around for some time yet. The production is a joy, not so lo-fi as to be indecipherable sludge, produced enough to get a full feel for each component. But all too often songs can be polished to the point of anaemia, not so here; rawness, madness and chaos rule.
2011 saw the new lineup produce those two split 7” singles (Love Attack and Wet Bandits) within a month of each other, as they continued to deliver the ear-splitting volume and uninhibited confrontational performances they are known for. Andy almost bubbles over with effusiveness about a great year, a first European tour, playing the Music is Music Language DIY weekender in Glasgow and of the new lineup’s first handful of shows with NYC’s “astonishing” Child Abuse.
Andy and Vickie both speak of the “honour” of touring with other bands (HEALTH, Francis Harold and the Holograms, Opaque, Part Chimp, Male Bonding, Deerhoof to name a few), of putting out split releases “unity and respect for each other” – community has always been at the heart of DIY. They feel they are probably at their best live, trying to capture the live experience on record (“quick, as few retakes as possible, if any”) Noise and aggression are not necessarily antagonistic confrontation though, and should not be confused with misanthropy, (“We’re not GG Allin”) but gigging brings with it an element of chaos, and in this chaos Divorce find the freedom to push themselves that step further. It isn’t about making “serene, indie-kid music,” audiences can be subdued, or confused “an awesome shows can happen in front of barely anyone.”
2012 doesn’t find Divorce in any danger of letting up. A split 10” with German/Swedish noise-punks Jailhouse Fuck has been released on SixSixSixties Records and a new 7” is forthcoming on Milk Records. This is all before their long-awaited full-length appears in summer, when they also plan to do an American tour and shows in the UK and Europe. There will be plenty of opportunity to catch Divorce in their natural environment – a small, sweaty room. Ultimately, Divorce are about four friends getting together to make noise and make it good. You’re welcome to join them – just don’t mind if they don’t look up to notice.