“I love the anarchy in Vertical Smile,
combined with some ferocious musical talents,
it’s great when it comes out of the chase
into a really tight repetitive riff."

Described by Youth as, “the band I should have done but didn't do when I was 16, before getting serious with Killing Joke,” Vertical Smile hits you with a force ten barrage of behemoth gutter action, post-punk electronic groove marauding and often personal, hard-hitting lyrics marking the first time the bassist has stepped up to the microphone with stories to impart. Youth has obviously been more than a little goosed by his past exploits playing bass alongside 80s sleaze god Zodiac Mindwarp and providing the rumble to Jaz Coleman’s Valkyrie siren flights, but also gleefully runs wild in the madly-diverse sonic field which he straddles with effortless ease, musical barriers crumbling beneath his feet as future-disco grooves are raided by guitar napalm squads, crucially and sometimes remarkably imbued by the spirit of the blues. As with many seismic musical eruptions, Youth’s creative lava and onstage reinvention was fertilised by a desire to take DJing in a direction beyond the latest laptop programme.

“I started Vertical Smile about three years ago when I was asked to DJ at a Hellraiser club night. I was bored with the DJ format and confidently suggested I do a live rhythm section with myself on bass and David Nock on drums, playing heavy dance floor rhythms with dub and punk-funk bass lines. It went down really well and, although mainly instrumental, had the crowd rocking. This quickly developed into an expanded line-up with Freelance Hellraiser on keyboards and samplers, James Sedwards on guitars and Andrew Robertson on guitar and keys, with myself taking lead vocals ands writing songs over the dancefloor rhythms."

The influences are extreme - post punk, EBM, Krautrock, P-Funk, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana and psychedelic Detroit blues. Youth's original punk attitude, extreme emotional siphoning and reckless sonic architecture of post-disco groove music is so embedded in his soul that it was only inevitable that, under the right circumstances and in the right group, it would finally ejaculate into the face of the world, like Satan’s penis in an unexpected rabbit grotto. More earth-bound, Sex, Drugs & Leisure is the kind of album which maintains a long tradition started in the blues, threading through all great guitar-based music of the last 80 years, from blues to punk to Gun Club rampage to Grinderman, but abducting electronic dance music in its wake. Or as Youth puts it, “I love the anarchy in Vertical Smile, combined with some ferocious musical talents, it’s great when it comes out of the chase into a really tight repetitive riff. It’s great fun.”

Available in the Malicious shop:

Sex, Drugs and Leisure CD
Sex, Drugs and Leisure triple vinyl