Hidden beneath an astoundingly diverse range of experimental and DIY output by Hopkins (The Bowles, Naked On The Vague; Penultimate Press, Vittelli, Kye) and Schueler (The Bowles; Kye) is the disorienting, psychedelic mess of VOtS’s 22 Coloured Bull-Terriers. Written between 2005 and 2007 in the Blue Mountains, Sydney and Melbourne, its limited cassette release was lauded by those who heard it and lusted after by those that hadn’t. This 2015 reissue, remastered by Mikey Young, comes in the form of a double vinyl gatefold designed by Hopkins via the record label, Another Dark Age.
I’ve lost the thread of beginning / I don’t know why you’re grinning
Ten years on from its conception, 22 Coloured Bull-Terriers is still a rollicking, psychotic and kaleidoscopic dream that demands reinterpretation on every listen. Made of 23 dazzling lo-fi vignettes and songs that range from tender spoken and vocal excursions (“Number Theory”), to acoustic and instrumental sketches (“Santa Maria”), lullaby duets (“Blackbirds” and “Rainblame”), and devastating fleshed-out, no-new-wave song writing (“Mice in the Ocean” and “Horses Screaming”).
Haven’t slept this well in a year / It’s like watching Vincent cut off his ear
Schueler and Hopkins formed VOtS in 2001 and offered little in the way of heralded releases. The project lurked in the shadows of the Australian east coast scene. Even the 2008 cassette release of 22 Coloured Bull-Terriers saw no VOtS shows and only one (excellent) street press interview given by Schueler. Their most penetrating music came on a 7” on Graham Lambkin’s Kye label in 2011, sounding like a terrifying washed-out DIY chamber music record. Sadly, it was released posthumously in memory of Schueler who had passed away a year earlier. What little material had arisen from this long partnership would be all the world was left with.
I’ve got a disease from thee / My girls has a sore throat too