Sean Bailey might be known to a few as the grim figurehead of foreboding, industrial, cult-punk act Lakes. Lakes released an album in the final moments of 2015 and it was a record that was fairly compelling, but just missed the mark in terms of connecting with me personally. The pagan ceremony rhythms and wicked, incanted vocalisms were vivid and intriguing, but in the end my attention waned and the songs seemed to bleed into one another. Sean Bailey’s other project, TOL, is a different beast – a vicious post-punk project that’s immediate and petrous.
The trio, which features Bailey on drum and vocal duties, is rounded out by Justin Fuller and Lee Parker – members of Zond and Spite House. The trio is releasing a two track EP through No Patience Records and features the lead single ‘Survive’. Unrelenting and grim (as one would expect from any Sean Bailey project), ‘Survive’ is as close to a punk anthem as you are likely to hear from this group. The sonic spray is catapulted in an all-encompassing buckshot of driving rhythm and electrifying vocal cadence. It’s less melodic than what you’d come to expect from post-punk if all you’ve listened to in that genre is Gold Class or Mere Women – TOL has a bit more bite, more likely to lash out than recoil. There is a hostility against the world communicated throughout the song, but as the song title suggests the aim of the game is to endure. On that note at least, TOL succeeds – this is an enduring song, one with imagery that lingers and survives in the desolate world it exists in.