Thursday, 15 May 2014

The Secret Prostitutes - Welcome to Punk… Viva la Evolución… We Can Do Whatever We Want

Houston's Secret Prostitutes favour the unwieldy forthright title, on their first album they proclaimed Nevermind the KBD, This is A.D.D., seeking to take the already wildhouse spirit of that early 80s teensplat worldpunk, and fracture it further, manic and carefree, on their new album they sum up their fermentative steal-from-the-past/spit-at-the-future spirit, Welcome to Punk… Viva la Evolución… We Can Do Whatever We Want, which slipped out at the tail end of 2013 on Paha Tukka Elämä in Europe, Base Records in Japan and Torture Garden Picture Company in the US. I guess when you sing most of the time in a language (Indonesian) that most of the people who come to your shows don't speak and don't include lyrics sheets with your LP you've gotta stick the key to your noise right up their at the front, state the game and state your aims.

They continue their splattered palate of KBD-influenced punk rock, evoking that feeling of underground disconnected (in head and body) punk bands spraying haphazardly out in hundreds of bent and re-bent attacks at the Pistols/Clash/Damned/Ramones framework, dirtied up and individually weirdstrung from France's Gasoline to Denmark's Lost Kids to Italy's Hitler SS to California's Insults and countless other low-rent idiot punx dreamers and/or dickheads. This evocation feeling sometimes like the way Fucked Up explicitly created this false explosion of early 80s British music on their companion piece to David Comes to Life, David's Town, there there was a wider spread of sounds, but a more unified theme, that one city, one time, the Secret Prostitutes, with their flip from sharp sneerer, to scrappy slapper, desperate yelp to punk-pop pounce, run gleefully and tinnily around the world, mixing up their Indonesian with bits of Spanish, Italian, German and English (and some other languages, I think) They draw on the easy globeskipping sway of 80s Italo commie-artpunx CCCP De Fedeli Alla Linea (USSR Faithful to the Line) and their song Live in Pankow, covered here, running off "Live in Moscow, live in Budapest, live in Varsavia, live in Sofia, live in Prague, live in Pankow!". That red heart is shined and shown off too in songs like Manifesto Komunis and Partai Komunis Indonesia.

Shot and pulled together by the yappy vocals, both male and female, sometimes intercutting, sometimes not, The Secret Prostitutes live in a careless frailty as they jounce through 25 songs in under 30 minutes, getting instantly bored with songs, styles, modes of expression and dropping them, abrupt and without notice or regret. Übermensch employs dark deep German shoutings, guttural growls and melodramatic calls, repetitive dug-in riffs, slipping out of the sturdy thudding into backmasked snips drawn as feverish tongues. There's drawn out silliness of the extended overbearing count-in on Partai Komunis Indonesia and its idiot-Oi! broken off quickly, before the even the second chorus. Those blokey choral vox pop-up again on the scratch punk tickler of I Don't Need You, the urgent stamp of Asuranis Jiwa.

There are even odder, freer, moments, like Galaxie's gentle trills, soft disco-pop burblings like a watery dawn rising on the slowing dancers, breaking up the often breathless tempo of the album. And then there's the closer, The Secret Prostitutes Theme, a herky jerky tumbling of a chippy beat reminiscent of the chaotic pain-earnt joy of The Genuines' Die Struggle, horns swoops and whips, rattles, teasing guitar, soothing bass gives. And then, like much of the rest of the album, it just snaps off.

All that was laid out and lunged at in that title is achieved, the openness and delight, the changing, the revolution, the liberty. "I got friends down in Costa Rica/See guerilla wanna rock 'n' roll/I got a friend or two Tanzania/Communist Radio!" sang The Eat on their classic 7" Communist Radio, also found on (what else?) the second Killed By Death comp and that's the language that The Secret Prostitutes speak in Welcome to Punk..., whatever the grammars or lexicons slung this way and that. That of a world made small by the scamperpunk shivers and garage shakes, jabbing and moving quickly away from the counterpunch, ripping, hopping and devil-may-care the planet over, dancing on hot coals and getting away clean.

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