Tuesday, 26 August 2014

HOAX - s/t LP

From the album's lyrics sheets on 6 24"x24" posters, each with a different punk artist, to its thanx sections which apparently acknowledges everyone who ever booked a show for them, played on the same bill, or just lent any kind of a hand, everything about HOAX speaks to hardcore as totality, no corners cut, full-on, all-encompassing and self-actualised. Their shows eruptions of violence, their stage presence baleful and bloody, 2013 Chaos in Tejas found their lead singer almost a fashion icon, filled as it was with skinny creepy bald dudes rocking dirtstaches and 1000 yard creepy glowers.When you saw guys like this together it looked like the world's most unappealing gang. HOAX came up with a killer live presence, their leadsinger smashing his head up every show, prowrestling theatricality, the crusher you turkeynecks, one show apparently someone turned up with a box full of bandaids to chuck at him when the blood started flowing. Fake anger/real anger/real blood. All that squirting mix of stuff, their full-on genre slams too full-on for some, pushed as hard as it could and too hard for those smiling and shrugging around what is and isn't legit. It's cool to kill it live, but if you're killin it every night does it ever become rote? At the root of it all though, is a thick ugly sonic muck beaten into shape that sustains itself, feeds with and into those basements and bars and warehouses and industrial plants filled with tearaways and torn parts.

Opening with the suck and gurgle of chesty groans and cacophonous burps, before a hulking guitar chomp thuds in. Hoax go down the line with powerful burly hardcore. First seeming clear in their intent, self-loathing as terror on Hide, atheism as alienation on No Spirit, Hoax struggle with the worst of the world, but it's not just a pity pit. Hide's as dismissive as it is self-pitying, No Spirit is as much about crashing onwards free and clear as it is about writhing in agoraphobic panic at the wideopen unhindered choices a godless world offers you. Diseased and damaged by the shitty facts of the world, HOAX capture that evil twist between hating injustice, hating the nastiness and disorder, and being an ugly product of it. Using that anger as momentum that eats away at you as it forces you to confront some real shit. Drive rolls with the motion of Theo Jansen's kinetic sculptures, Strandbeest unstoppable, until it crashes to a halt. Sick Punk gagging on mucus but reveling in its place as a "TRUE SICK PUNK. SCUMMY LITTLE FREAK". Anaesthetize bemoaning its own numbness, but then finding that numbness as an armour and shield. "HOW CAN I DIE? I CAN'T FEEL A FUCKING THING." HOAX may front as real terrors, but their songs, thumping dirty hardcore crunches, dynamic and packed with weird stiff reorderings, like the keening whispers among dronedumps on Blind, the thick cultish run down of Lost Control, are confused missives, brittle with despair, but improbably flowering out of the gloom.

Chunks of modern hardcore, but all the the fake anger/real anger/real blood discussion crackling back up, about whether HOAX (their name is HOAX) carry that shit heavy or whether they dance through it as some tossed off genre exercise, burning as they do each song with some other facet of the punx canon, to a cynic merely checking off a list, punk self-identification, struggles with mental anguish and gender pressures, urbansprawl dislocation, deathwish nothings, but they bite through, through the bandaids and the trends, whether it is reenactment, the blood remains real, the songs remain hard, the confusion is too present to ignore. But this shitworld syllabus is exactly the stuff that punk was built for, and through my own utterly punkshot troubles and turns I have winced with each twist of the knife that is untwisted here. If it can't be dealt with, or at least wrestled with, bitten at and spat out in these places then where can it be? HOAX got punk, sometimes blown-up in half-silly leering caricatures, bleeding, killing, every night, sometimes eased down into a painful settling, speaking to darker, more private places. Each are parts of the encompassing drive, the stalling fear, that is hardcore punk played with such rude purity.

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