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NAMED after the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM IV bill themselves as music-makers and dreamers of dreams and, mixing rock, glitch and acid beats with dark lyrics that make you think twice, they could be accused of being pretentious. Except for the fact they deliver.
These are no young art-school pups with a thirst for publicity but a band built on ex-1980s Matchbox B-Line Disaster singer Guy McKnight’s challenging lyrics and delicious vocals, backed by Pav Cummins’s keys and beats and a buzzsawing rock-and-roll guitar from Jade Ormesher that sits masterfully atop the mix.
Playing the Lexington, which has just about survived the Covid crisis, DSM’s dance-driven rock quickly gets the whole audience moving.
Two numbres in, and McKnight has already left the stage. Like a twisted ringmaster or child snatcher-cum-court jester, he prowls and parades through the venue, drawing the audience in.
His voice is pure and wild and the lyrics touch on child abuse and God, with belief and survival still offering hope amid the world’s harshness, and the more McKnight engages the more the room rocks.
Challenging, odd and enigmatic, McKnight sports a mullet and tracksuit chic as he works the room and by giving it his all has everyone onside, dancing and enjoying the dark delights.
Building on rousing dance beats, complemented with the anger and edge of The Stooges crossed with Suicide’s drone rock, some Madchester swagger and a bit of The Prodigy thrown in, it just works.
Highlights include Killing Your Time, with a sublime guitar riff and call for the will to live, Funland which lulls you into a luscious false sense of security and Scumbag which is pure class, despite its cataloguing abuse and abuser.
The night ends with McKnight prone, feedback blasting and with much applause from the crowd.
Crafted, artful and twisted, this is music that makes you think, dance and let yourself go.
If DSM IV are playing near you, go catch them — if they’re not, they’re well worth travelling to see.
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