Ikara Colt Modern Apprentice

Currently without a label on this side of the pond after jumping ship from Epitaph last year, Ikara Colt haven’t let that minor roadblock get in their way. Modern Apprentice, their follow-up to the exhilarating Chat & Business, is their first record with new bassist Tracy Bellaries, after the departure of Jon Ball. And from Bellaries’s hasty bass line that kicks off "Wanna Be That Way,” there is an immediate impression the band were eager to raise the music’s level of intensity even more. The song’s overpowering buzzing guitars waste no time attacking like a snotty Motörhead anthem with the ferocity of a snarling pack of wild dogs. "Wake in the City” keeps up the momentum, fixating itself on Goo-era Sonic Youth, while the following "Jackpot” moves like the Fall on amphetamines. The pace isn’t completely linear though — "Waste Ground” slows down for a mid-tempo groove led by the steady beat of Dominic Young and a monotonous synth; "Motorway,” with Claire Ingram chanting to a minimal thumping and Suicide-obsessed drone introduces an unexpected, yet welcome addition. Modern Apprentice proves Ikara Colt can hold their own against any other contemporary band, and even some of their obvious influences. Modern, yes, but they’re far from apprentices. (Fantastic Plastic)