I stuck this onto my music player expecting more of the motorik garage pop that makes Port Sulphur’s previous release ‘Paranoic Critical’ the breezy guitar fest that it is. Wrongly, as it turned out, although while ‘Valentinos’ is a very different creature to its predecessor it’s also very far from a disappointment. Basically, and you might need to stretch the remaining memory cells to completely get this, way back in the misty twilight of the mid 80s a 12″ EP was released that had a profound effect on many of those that heard it. A collaboration between Holger Czukay and Jaki Leibzeit of Can and PIL’s Jah Wobble, the ‘How Much Are They’ four tracker seemed destined to push the boundaries of experimental dub punk beyond its then known limits, and it seemed like a missed opportunity that nothing was ever again heard of that particular musical combination.
Perhaps aware of the need to complete that experiment, Port Sulphur have gone and done it for us, and the six tracks on ‘Valentinos’ are dubby, funk inflected dancefloor classics that mix all manner of production trickery and references – fifth track ‘Manifesto’ takes a definite cue from The Temptations’ ‘Ball Of Confusion’ for example – that are redolent of some very influential musical obscurities indeed – elements of Eno, Renegade Soundwave, Smith and Mighty, ‘Vanishing Point’ era Primals can all be heard occurring at irregular intervals throughout ‘Valentinos’, although it says much that on this release Port Sulphur don’t really sound a lot like any of these probable influences, there’s just too much going on at both the forefront and background of the mixing board and Douglas Macintyre, James Kirk et al are too definite about what they want to do on this release. It is, if you’re in the mood for some mutant dub funk, damn well superb.
The only slight problem with ‘Valentinos’, and it is a slightly unusual one, is that so far as I can make out, Creeping Bent have chosen to only make the album available for one day on their website, and as that day was in fact the 14th of February 2019 then I don’t quite know what to suggest here. Perhaps a listen to some of the tracks on ‘Paranoic Critical’ – specifically ‘Red Star’ and ‘Alex Discord’ will provide an idea of where Port Sulphur are going with these tracks. Perhaps we can expect an expanded full release of ‘Valentinos’ sometime in the not too distant.