Much like the exasperated parents who’ve been reduced to anthropomorphising broccoli in a vain attempt to get their sprog to eat it, maths teachers have spent weeks-worth of evenings trying to formulate ways to make their subject cool and adolescent-approved. I imagine that the first person 2 realise that certain numbers could be substituted 4 words thought they might have 1 the battle, but it’s math-rock that has most successfully slung protractors and L-squares in favour of aviators and leather pants. It sauntered into the classroom and bashed two chalkboard erasers together in 5½/4 time, and now Iran Iran have emerged from the resultant cloud of chalk, with wide grins hidden underneath warped rubber masks of their favourite fifth-tier pop icons.
With all its delicious, flagrant wankery, math-rock tends to draw more from the rock pools of technical precision than the deeper wells of human emotion, but Milk Time For Spiders sits between the two with one of those dual-strawed drinking hats and has the lot. This sort of music is generally themeless, but instead of the identity-stripping numbered titles employed by stalwarts Three Trapped Tigers on EPs 1 through 3, Iran Iran name each track fondly after a denizen of the silver screen, plumped up with some light wordplay. There are likeable liberties taken with titles like ‘You Make Me Feel Ted Danson’ and ‘Olivia Newton John Belushi’. They’re the popping candy atop delicious ice cream, existing purely for the purposes of having a little giggle.
Iran Iran will still yank on your earlobes and poke you between the ribs with complex poly-rhythms, which is always emasculating for a finger-counter such as myself, but then they sit beside you and scribble feverishly into a pocket notebook as if the entire EP is a Rorschach test (incidentally, that’s a Mogwai on the cover, right?). I tell them that I hear the sharp guitars on ‘Michael Mannhunter’ insta-morph from rosy-cheeked, chatting parakeets to cats violently expelling their odorous upchuck. I explain that each skittering cymbal of ‘Cry Me A River Phoenix’ is an ice cube dropped down the back of my jumper, each thunderous rolling of toms a titan slapping its belly. “How does that make you feel?” they ask. I puke at their feet, they nod and note it down. Another advancement for this wing of wacky academia.