GBH, ‘Perfume and Piss’ — New Album
In the early 1980s, when British bands like the Exploited, the Damned and Discharge were injecting more speed, distortion and testosterone to the U.K. punk scene, Birmingham, England quartet GBH swung down like a wrecking ball with 1982’s ‘City Baby Attacked by Rats’ to demolish and devastate much of what had come before. And in the process, they inadvertently helped trigger the birth of thrash and speed metal. “I hate speed metal,” vocalist Colin Abrahall told Noisecreep. “We are and always were a punk rock band.”
Be that as it may, GBH remain near the top of the list of influential punk bands name-dropped in interviews by legendary thrash bands like Slayer, Metallica and Megadeth. And now, after a six-year recording hiatus, GBH have returned with a new album, ‘Perfumes and Piss,’ which came out April 6. The album is technically the follow-up to 2005’s ‘Cruel and Unusual,’ but Abrahall considers it more like the legitimate successor to 2002’s ‘Ha Ha.’
“‘Cruel and Unusual’ wasn’t a proper release,” he said. “It was done for a Japanese tour, then it got picked up and released everywhere.”
The new album title — like many things in the lives of GBH — came from a mix of excitement and unpleasantness. “It’s about opposites,” Abrahall said. “We were flying to America and [drummer Scott Preece, formerly of Bomb Disneyland] came back from the toilet and said it smelled like perfume and piss. The idea is that every black cloud has a silver lining and vice versa.”
The members of GBH — Abrahall, Preece, guitarist Colin Blyth and bassist Ross Lomas — started working on ‘Perfume and Piss’ in April 2009, and got together over the next year on a semi-regular basis to write and record. “We tend to write a batch of songs at a time, three or four in a month, then work on them for a bit,” Abrahall said.
Even when the schedule was concrete, the creative environment was as chaotic as ever, even if no one passed out or projectile vomited on the soundboard. “It was the usual madhouse,” Abrahall shrugged. “Ross set his gym up in the live room. Scott kept trying to put beer on our food and drink tab. Smoking is now banned in any work place, so we spent a lot of time standing on the front steps of the studio watching seagulls.”
Despite the total insanity, or lack thereof, GBH managed to assemble a batch of heavy, immediate and hook-filled songs that are simple yet effectively endorphin-pumped.
“It was an enjoyable album to make,” Abrahall said. “We recorded in our hometown. The engineer worked two weeks in England, then two weeks in Portugal. So when he was away, we were playing live shows and listening to what he had done so far, which helped keep us excited.”