Misleading bandnames – just as Sleigh Bells suggests something more in line with fudgy yuletide logs ala Cliff Richard rather than industrial acid-charged pop, you could be forgiven for expecting Cookstown, Northern Ireland trio Chocolate Love Factory to sound like David Hasselhoff thrusting his soul into a “You Sexy Thing” cover.
Monikers can be deceiving, and luckily the now Belfast-based band’s sound is as devilish as their sense of humour, which if not already suspected is pumped in buckshots into their forthcoming twin-sided single ‘Rat Bag/Texty Texty‘.
CLF call what they do ‘stoner grunge’, a sound with more heritage in the Californian sand-scapes than the NI capital, but with this double single you’d almost never have known. Although rather than the formula of distorted anthems and desert sludge their description suggests, what’s present is a more diluted compound, free of the fatty feedback and brewed for maximum appeal.
Look past that label and there’s a lot to like about Chocolate Love Factory. Rory Donaghy’s vocals stunt-doubling for the heightened drawl of Josh Homme might at times be a throw off, but amidst each full pelt riff riot the similarity subsides and becomes little more than a pet peeve. Queens Of The Stone Age are of course no strangers to drug references, but it needs to be said that ‘Rat Bag‘ sounds like snorting ”Songs For The Deaf‘ in one savage line and rampaging through the streets of Botanic with distortion pedals for shoes. Queens on coke, for the shorter quote.
Rory’s brother Luke supplies jump-cut drum slashing that’s matched every inch of the way with the caustic thuds of John Quinn on bass making for a real monster that packs as much hummable stuff as it does sheer voltage and with backing banshee harmonies and false endings the creativity is anything but lacking within the limits they’ve confined themselves.
It might not be grunge, or stoner rock, but what really is nowadays, and does it have to be either? Chocolate Love Factory are pushing through amongst this new wave of NI noise-makers with the likes of Gascan Ruckus, The Rupture Dogs and Like Statues, and with a bit of luck will be loud enough to be heard when the MTV parade invades in November or even better, drown out the entire choreographed glitz.
‘Rat Bag/Texty Texty‘ will be available on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon from March 23rd. The single will be launched in Belfast’s Spring & Airbrake that night with a great local support line-up including Comply or Die and B.O.Y.