Friday, 30 November 2012

Arms Aloft - Sawdust City


Sawdust City, industry and bloody floors. Orgcore! Beardpunk! Gruffpunk! Midwestern pop-punk! Bannerpilotblues! Whatever the fuck you wanna call it, you know how it works. Up-tempo anthemic pop-punk with the whine of spindly-pop-punk replaced by despairing bellows. Really though, this sort of thing is the Charles Bukowski to Oi!’s Richard Allen. Fight music for college dropouts conflicted about their middle-class roots and working-class existences so they beat themselves up rather than someone wearing the colours of a sports team their sports team doesn’t like. Oi! is just simple melodic singalong punk songs about working a shit job and then going out and getting drunk with your friends, orgcore (beardpunk/gruffpunk/whatever) is simple melodic singalong punk songs about working a shit job then going home and getting drunk by yourself listening to Jawbreaker, and that's the space that Arms Aloft sit in, and do it as well as anyone else ever really has.

It's stuff that's super-situated in its artistic context, working the geography of Broadways songs, listening to Ben Nichols records, throwing a nod at the sort of punk films that we spent teenage afternoons lazily watching in The Decline of Midwestern Civilization, tossing off a goofy Misfits joke on Where Seagulls Dare, it's drawing on a whole lot and it knows it, but, unlike the  thumbsucker inanity of Gaslight Anthem's rock-and-roll mythos, it cuts sharper than that, interested less in the mellifluous balm of rock-and-roll redemption, but in the moment after that, ruminating on the true malaise of poverty, the histories and sciences of being fucking skint, the day-to-day trap and we know who's to blame but we're too tired and beaten-down to raise that black flag, and fuck that black flag anyway, its got nothing on a Black Label. In its huge fucking choruses Sawdust City recalls the basement euphoria of D4's Doublewhiskeycokenoice, but its more concerned with the cold that bites the next morning when you wake up and realise it's 10 days til pay day and the heats off and you blew way too much cash on shitty beer and t-shirts last night so it twists that beautiful dancing D4 moment into the dry bleakness of DOUBLEDRANOPERCOCETNOICE. Music for the long walk home where we can touch and recall those moments of rapture that took us in the chorus but they fade away like winter breath and fuck...