Monday, December 27, 2010

BEST OF 2010 (part 7)

"No future?"

Last Days
(Whisper In Darkness)

If I bummed you out earlier in the week with my endorsement of an Afro-Soul record, prepare for more crippling disappointment. After unveiling the very promising Cold War EP in 2007 and Visions of a New World in 2008, the somber Canucks known as Spectres have returned in 2010 with an outstanding debut LP that has all the dark wavers wearing their sunglasses at night and frowning in approval. Despite a new lineup, Last Days continues in the depressive vein of the band's previous work, drawing heavily on the martial cadence of Crisis and the smoldering introspective anguish of The Mob and Joy Division. They call this "flat affect" in the mental health profession. Vocalist Brian Gustavason thrives on deadpan emotional dissonance but new songs like Our Time and Nazca show him broadening his range and stepping out of his comfort zone just enough to keep the funeral procession moving along at a brisk jaunty pace. This is one of those albums that takes homage to the threshold of plagiarism but somehow remains relevant and vital. In fact, these dudes have helped spearhead a recent emergence of melodic North West post-punk bands like Bellicose Minds, Vivid Sekt and Arctic Flowers, with whom they share a recent split 7". I sorta hope they'll continue to carve out an identity of their own and perhaps push their sound into more aggressive or experimental directions. The purity of this style is fairly limiting and the ice age atmosphere might grow stagnant over time, but this record has a moody urgency that really works. Snort your girlfriend's Prozac and join the death party, punk!

Honorable Mention:

Self Titled
(Black Water Records)
"AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!" These bastard sons of Wez ripped the noisepunk blueprint from local faves Atrocious Madness (R.I.P.) and Lebenden Toten (who borrowed liberally from the likes of Confuse, Disorder and the harshest parts of Antisect) and somehow came up with this absolutely essential blast of kaotic fuck-offery. These 12 "songs" buzz and vomit like a terrible aberration and before you can locate your industrial strength earplugs amidst all the empty beer cans on the floor...the nightmare is over as quickly as it began. Nerve Damage is the ace and I love how it transitions into Forced To Live and then into Brain Damage (variations on a theme). Parasites is an inspirational anthem about genital crabs and/or gutter punks and then there's that part in Nothing But Shit where it sounds like the guitar got unplugged. To top it all off, the lyric sheet looks like a juvenile detention coloring book centerfold. You mongoloids are probably too young to remember the punk rock episode of CHiPS but let grandpa over here tell you that the California Highway Patrol woulda shit their gestapo browns if they had to deal with these glue sniffing degenerates. Take a shower and go home to mommy, Richie Dagger. The real punks have arrived to DISTORT...uh...EVERYTHING!

"No future."


Ryan S. said...

"We dig pain!"

The best part is when Grossman teaches the other cops to "pogo" (aka mosh).