Sunday, 9 August 2015

Inmates - s/t LP

Inmates first LP in 12 years is everything you could expect from the band that typified a time and a place that's come to be spoken of in shitpunk circles with the kind of semi-apprehensive reverence reserved for the edge-riding scenes of crazed hardcore violence, responsible for some of the best fucking records and the most dangerous shows of the 90s and early 2000s. The oh-shit heady riot-madness and hardnut aura that's super cool when viewed through the intoxicating lens of old teenage wildness and the distancing prism of grainy youtube videos, but the more adult person inside you kind of knows would probably leave you real real fucked up in actual fact.

This is a consummately put together violent ugly record. It knows when to drive, when to snap, to stop, to stomp, to grab you with the rough thickness of the sound like you're hearing the reverberations of rusted steel cables rather than guitar strings, when to squeal clean in the solos, the vocals a perfect blend of menace and method, wrapped up in mutant snarl and growl. Got its Japanese/American hardcore roots balanced and locked in. It's music well-versed in that cathartic power of capturing that semi-inchoate anger that inevitably swirls out of you as a potent amalgam of sublimated depression, unshakeable frustration and gut-stuck futility. The only problem is that its also everything you could expect from a band that hasn't released an LP in 12 years.

Sushi; 39.6 lyrically brings to mind nothing so much as Separation of Church and Skate, NOFX song from 2003 that got immediately put-on blast by Propagandhi for its tired-ass olds-gonna-old premise way back then, Joe Dolce is literally a Joe Dolce cover, whose 70s cod-Italian novelty hit is repurposed as a hardcore anthem, and there's a a storming cover of a Cleveland hardcore banger from 1984, The Guns' Rotting Away. Crust Dust is a song about how crusties are stupid, a punk song about how crusties are stupid is possibly the only thing more played out than a crust song about how nuclear war sucks. It's all a bit like Eminem's Rap God, formally sick genre-savvy constructions, but essentially reruns of stuff that played well 15 years ago, Em dropping six minute tracks of dense hyperspeed multi-syllabic rhymes and still making tired gay jokes and Monica Lewinsky references. Inmates writing a slammin song about annoying oogles.

The panic and pain of Into Crypts of Smith is a tough hit though, touching a deeper darker emotion than most of the other songs, the generalised threats about running someone out of town, envisioning beating the shit out of some fucking prick, that classic subtweet hardcore, on Little Bitch or Form a Mob, still kill, still get into that primal righteous stomping part of you, cos it's a perfectly hardcore record, but too perfect to be a perfect hardcore record. Or to phrase it in a even glibber fashion, it's hard but there's not much at its core.

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