ATTRITION – Live at The Black Prince, Northampton, UK. December 9th 2023

Nothing ages as fast as an architect’s folly, and when Coventry was irrevocably scarred with brutalist monstrosities in the 1960’s, it didn’t take long for the rot to set in. A sea of concrete quickly crumbled, cavernous car parks became a criminal underworld, while unlit alleyways, where the sun never reached, stank permanently of piss (and if you want to know why The Specials wrote ‘Concrete Jungle’, there’s your answer). Thankfully, such environments can be fertile ground for great music and case in point are Attrition. They’ve been painting the world black with their dark sound since 1980, and their live shows are more black magic ritual than regular gig. Martin Bowes hangs off the microphone as if in a trance, while co-vocalist Julia Niblock, a singer at a séance, seems to channel a departed spirit to deliver a ghostly wail, and when floating atop discombobulating electronica, certainly casts a spell on the venue. After leading from the front with his previous bands, Alex Novak became part of Attrition in 1985 (appearing on their Smiling, At The Hypogonder Club album) and he joins the band for their final two tracks, acknowledging that era with ‘Adam and Eva’ and ‘Shrink-Wrap’.

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