Distorshaus - Plastic Angel

Plastic Angel EP

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This is quite a special moment in the Attic Finds world, so some backstory is needed. In the 1990s, Southampton was a frothing pan of music. There was music to be found everywhere, and Venue Magazine (free, print) was essential for discovering new bands and working out who was playing where.

In those heady days, there were music venues all over the place and one of these was The Angel. It faced onto Palmerston Park and wasn’t too far from St Mary’s Street, home to music instrument and alt-culture stores.

Now I was headed elsewhere on the night in question, possibly The Attic Club, but I was walking past The Angel. Now, I don’t understand the exact circumstances, but I guess Distorshaus were playing that night and I guess I kinda looked like the kind of person who would be into the band. I couldn’t change my plans, but I ended up walking away with the gift of an EP etched into twelve-inch vinyl.

The Distorshaus Mystery

The teenage version of me wasn’t much of an expert with vinyl. I had a record player and a bunch of big albums and small singles. You played albums at 33 RPM and singles at 78 RPM, but what speed did you select for an EP? The artwork provided no hint.

The result of this was that I discovered two bands, a doomy goth band and an energetic punk band – and I loved them both. The correct band was to remain a mystery to me for three decades.

I periodically remember that lend-lost vinyl and head out onto the Internet in search of answers, but in vain. That was, until this week, when I found that YouTube user faint hopes had uploaded the EP. Jackpot.

But imagine the dilemma. Once I hit play on this record, I’d regain one lost band only to forever kill the other. But love demands sacrifice, so I hit play, waited for the five-second countdown, and skipped the ads.

Plastic Angel

Distorshaus are, in fact, an energetic punk band, though there’s a post-punk atmosphere that might be down to the bass sound and some of the guitar influence. The opening riff ‘Plastic Angel’ quickly brings it all back, and the lyrics certainly have a sanguine addition that justifies the potential of this being the doomy Goth record that never existed.

‘Tender Pain’ chugs along well and adds a distinctive heavily saturated delay effect on the vocals in the chorus. It has pace changes and creative beat switches that you wouldn’t expect from the opening bars.

The moody ‘Nothing’ smoulders with its bass riffs, often echoed, with flourishes, by the guitar – and the final track, ‘Haunted’, has a heady wah-edged riff that takes turns with the vocal.

There’s an undeniable Poly Styrene influence on the vocals, but musically things span the eighties, with hints of The Cult, The March Violets, and Altar de Fey.

Punk-Goth from Newport, Wales

Distorshaus were from Newport, Wales and were active between 1994 and 1997. Their lineup included Helen Shannon on vocals, with Paul Edwards on guitar, Chris Sutoris on bass, and Gary Appleby on drums.

Some of the band members went on to form 9xDead.

Well, Plastic Angel EP is one of those underground classics. There must have been something about it for it to stick in my mind for so long.

Listen to Plastic Angel EP

Listen to Distorshaus – Plastic Angel EP.

Written by Fenton on

Steve Fenton writes in our music, words, and culture categories. He was Editor in Chief for The Mag and covered live music for DV8 Magazine and Spill Magazine. He was often found in venues throughout the UK alongside ace-photographer, Mark Holloway. Steve is also a technical writer and programmer and writes gothic fiction. Steve studied Psychology at OSC, and Anarchy in the UK: A History of Punk from 1976-1978 at the University of Reading.

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