Birthed in industrial South Wales, Swansea/Newport-based trio Only Fools And Corpses have come out alive and fighting, lunging for the world’s throat. Conceived in summer 2018, guitarist & vocalist Cameron Mcintyre, bassist Dan Richards and drummer Jack Hughes began Only Fools and Corpses as jam sessions planned around Cameron’s idea for “an EP about a mind collapsing, just a few really horrible, themed songs about mental collapse and people’s legs coming off.”
Although that idea has yet to come to fruition, the band have remained ambitious. Counting The Jesus Lizard, Self Defense Family and Sleaford Mods as key influences, Only Fools and Corpses incorporate those acts’ idiosyncratic, confrontational tendencies and blends them up into a uniquely violent-minded brew. They’re also keen to stress the integral influence of noise rock legend Steve Albini, how “horrible” and “raw” his famous body of work sounds. “That’s basically what we’re trying to do”, Jack adds.
When probed for less unilateral inspirations, Cameron shakes his head and reveals; “Jack listens to a lot of fucking field recordings and shit”, eliciting laughs from his bandmates. “I can’t do it, you just sit there in the middle of the room like you’re in the fucking tundra or something”. As an influence, this may sound out of step with the band’s visceral, aggressive music, but makes sense when taken as an indicator of Only Fool’s wider aesthetic vision.
A product of the grimy, decaying, post-industrial corner of Wales, the band’s visual art features power stations, flyovers and harsh scrubland, black and white images of a washed-out, beaten down world. As if mirroring an internal barrenness, this cohesion between sound and vision is hugely impressive from a fledgling band, and can be credited as much to Dan and Jack’s photography skills, as well as to the band’s general vision for themselves and their future.
To further push this multimedia assault, they have also published their own zine; titled Support Your Local Zine, after the band’s first recorded track. “It’s a nice way to share art that we don’t get to show in any other way; photography, poetry or whatever”, explains Jack. The zine is charmingly traditional, featuring scrawled, hand-written text, trademark grubby photography and fragments of lyrics and poems. Care and thought has clearly gone into it, which is symptomatic of the band’s whole approach to their mission.
When questioned on the premise of their (so far) only recorded song, Cameron elucidates; “Most people get it wrong, they’re like ‘yeah yeah, we totally agree with supporting our scene’, but that track’s really a sarcastic, acerbic rant about this prickthatDanandIusedtoknowbackhome”. The song contains real bite, an anti-anthem that takes no prisoners, even towards the seemingly un-criticisable bonds of supposed scene harmony.
None of that’s to say that Only Fool's are aloof or cynical. They’ve played every venue across South Wales and Bristol, from the intimate Exchange basement to Cardiff’s indie-favourite Porter’s, collecting numerous admirers along the way. “Porter’s was one of my favourites” says Dan, to agreeing nods from his bandmates. That evening saw the band play to a packed out room, with the whole trio firing on all cylinders. The reaction was excellent, and they immediately won over much of the less-heavy music inclined Porter’s crowd.
On the subject of the future, the band seem determined. “Covid’s thrown everything into a mess, ” Jack explains, “but we want to record, we know the producer personally, we just need to find the time when both parties can get it sorted”. The band have enough material for two EP’s, and seem keen on the idea of releasing both as soon as possible, perhaps in a one year one-two punch. On the the broader future, they’re understandably pessimistic; “who knows, there could be another plague, or I dunno, all plants might just start dying”, jokes Cameron.
This image is quintessential OFAC. They paint pessimistic vistas, but maintain a strong moral undercoat. They see beauty in decay and ugliness, which, in its own way, can be more humanist and thoughtful than all-too-common endorsements of superficial cheeriness. This attitude is refreshing, their achingly human music contains multitudes, which, combined with their healthy dose of principles, should see them go on to do great things.
Check out Only Fools And Corpses on Bandcamp here.