Sunday, 16 November 2014

No Sir I Won't - The Whole Fucking World is Shit 12"

Goddamn No Sir I Won't are kind of a bollockache. After getting monstrously excited by their demo & first single their first 12" sent me into a tizzy where I got all worked up over the idea of the paradox of worship bands as resistance music before chilling myself out reconciling to the idea of repeated music for repeated struggles. Now their new 12" EP The Whole Fucking World Is Shit features some of their tightest stuff, really fulfilling that literate catchiness, that taut and sharpened rage that they hinted at with More Politicians and then it's got Radio Shit, Radio Shit, as tight a song as they've made, a real Subhumans sort of banger, clicking with sing-song rhythms, but lyrically dumb as dirt.

And okay, stupidity is fucking great in punk rock a bunch of the time, the puerile inanity of noisepunk, the pogo brain damage, the slackjawed monotony of a million generic d-beat crews and garage-punk knuckleheads, but a wordy anarcho band is hinged as much on making salient points about the power-structures it's kicking at as it is on successfully replicating the Bullshit Detector aural aesthetic.

Basically, there are certain modes of stupidity, certain types of idiocy that play and certain types that don't. A lot of punk (a lot of music? a lot of art?) is maybe trying to capture certain epiphanies and feelings that read as teenage. The pure warmth of feeling like there's a song/a band/a genre that is grabbing at your very soul, the coming up into realisation of how fucked the world is along with the conviction that you can make a tangible difference, but this growing up is an spikey uneven process. When I was 17 and reading Noam Chomsky, convinced I was some fucking real radical, I was still churning inside with unacknowledged internalised bigotries, born of a systemic indoctrination that I felt I was finally smart enough to see, but in reality I obviously was nowhere near smart or perceptive enough to grasp its true pervasiveness of and just how much it was still living inside of me.

Referring to anyone who makes pop music as 'scabs and turncoats', as Radio Shit does, referring to anyone who listens to it as 'fallen masses' in the savior-complex pompous condescension of a 17 year old who many doesn't have many real friends but knows an awful lot about death metal or jazz-fusion (or punk, obviously) to make up for it. That's fucking rockism at its height. There are certain modes of that teenage expression that ring true, the enthusiasm, the anger, but there's a lot of ugly shit, a pervading isolation that leads to the conviction that you're somehow different, which splits into two simultaneous feelings, one of self-loathing and alienation, and also of smug superiority and a million self-congratulatory "Still listening to this in 2014" and "You say Nicki Minaj/I say Led Zeppelin" YouTube comments.

You wanna capture that rawness, that feeling, maybe here trying to articulate and bring another life to the spit and fire that popped in your head the moment you first stumbled across Crass, overheard at a cooler punk friend's house, tucked away on the back half of some mixtape, in a youtube link thrown your way offhandedly and then replayed 18 fucking times straight. But you don't have to simultaneously roll with the snorting contempt for 'normals' or, the cackhanded dismissal or disbelief that anyone could have a genuinely transformative emotional experience with art that does not speak to you, that people who are blasting BeyoncĂ© or Taylor Swift can't be invested in the struggle, you're not radical there, you're Liam Gallagher farting on about Jay-Z at Glastonbury, you're a shit old man complaining that bands don't sound like The Beatles anymore. "Radio was once the voice of the people." claims The Third Step, Radio Shit's clattering chaotic intro. The fuck it was. That sounds a fucking Gaslight Anthem lyric, and you wanna be swerving as far away from that conservative tapioca-Sorkin vision of the past as you really can. Punk is very fucking susceptible to believing its own revolutionary hype, to playing into that media-narrative of itself as the TRUE REVOLUTIONARY MUSIC, punkism as a ugly offshoot of lazy rockism, and if you're making revolutionary punk, you should be about kicking that fucking myth to pieces.

It's a fucking shame, cos the songs on this EP really are killer. And a firm recreation first mindblowing epiphany of real punk attack is handily realised a lot of the time. Sharp barbs of anarcho-punk, like Radio Shit really closer to the Subhumans' compact bombs than the Crassic sprawl of songs like When You Gonna Realize? on The Door, these songs are stripped to their gleaming edges with no goth shiver that accompanies much of the modern day takes on the subgenre, just pure clear rage, throbbing and marching, herky jerky riffs bouncing like demented puppets, catchy basslines and itchy panicked guitar scrape, falling into and rising out of apocalyptic sound collages rippling with threat and chaos and doom. The vocals snapping with venom, slithering with demented hope, punching with power, asking real questions, playing characters, caricatures, carrying like crowd chants over police lines. Songs like Broadcast Tower with its 1-2 stomp, Bring the Boys Back Home with its peppy yelps, The Third World with its gentle guitar trickles filtering through the fury and indignance, are small masterpieces of restless punk shiftings, skipping from crash to shuffle, blunt messages of resistance delivered with real conviction, "MAYBE THE BOSSES DON'T GIVE A FUCK", creeping dawns of solidarity spotted somewhere off in the dark, making you keep fighting, dancing. And keeping fighting is important, just as keeping dancing is. Just don't be real fucking 100% oi-mate-i'm-punk punk dickheads about it, you know. Nicki Minaj fucking rules, mate.



2 comments:

  1. i posted these in my blog a few weeks back but you do them more justice. nice review

    ReplyDelete