Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Personnel on Double Dot Dash records
One of my favorite records of all time and one that I came way too late to the party was Gang of Four's Entertainment!. Not sure why it took me until a few years ago to track it down but literally my mind was blown from beginning to end, track after track. It was one of the first records I went and shelled out a collectors price for it happily. A few records since have had the same 'WHERE HAVE I BEEN' brain meltdown like that one. The Wire's Pink Flag, The Embarrassment's Death Travels West or The Sediment Club's first single come close to that revelation and I've been chasing that post punk perfection ever since. Today add a single from Personnel, a band I know nothing about, except the fittingly brief bio from Double Dot Dash.
"Consumer Electronics" opens on this sharp repeating mechanical electric guitar. Piercing chords that don't even give you time to absorb this rhythm, it's in your face with straight assembly line cuts, whooshing past. It quickly develops into a minimal bass driven Prinzhorn Dance School track - my favorite kind of extremist post punk. Broken and braced together with haphazard pieces and a strong vocal track about the modern world, he's distanced and half speaking, but launches into melody when the chorus bursts apart. They're using those pop elements to the best effect, holding it back just waiting to speak popular language if they have to but it's only to show how inferior it really is. Not to mention when an English band criticizes in this detached style it just feels so much cooler coming from overseas. The guitars on "Modern Drab" reference everything from Devo to the Feelies. The jangle should be blowing apart - completely disntegrating but the webs of conceptualism are pretty strong here and vocally he's got that powerful monotone speaking delivery that pushes this into perfect. Gatefold pocket sleeve with the plain inner single sleeve stapled into itself that left me trying to pull the whole thing apart for a little while. It's also reminding me of the German Measles or The Zoltars that 'fuck it all' attitude putting together a scathing commentary about daily life. The things you have to do to exist in the world. The English have a monopoly on that cool punk post stuff like no one else.
B-Side "Hysteria" comes in with a single chord jammed in between a back and forth kick and bass. Exactly like Gang of Four, capturing that jittery nervousness with an aggression and air of giving up, nailing that aesthetic or lack of one actually - an casual unawareness. A textbook example of that song title literally driving the track or vice versa so exactly the definition changes. They hammer out chords with brutish serious energy mentioning Twitter and Youtube in the same verse as the Sex Pistols. No one else could get away with this. "Close Quarters" I think I forgot to mention how clean this sounds, the pile of junk it could have been - and maybe that's the difference between the Atlantic. I think on the U.S. side they wouldn't have even bothered to put this kind of effort into the message here, it would have been a static filled underwater mess but instead these blokes have made every effort to present a polished pile of jagged rust. An old saw blade on a velvet pillow, backlit and without telling anyone put it in a museum.
Occasionally I get a record where one day just isn't enough, they are doing everything right in a genre I love, and and EP like this opens all kinds of new possibilities. They recorded this in two hours. What? Half the bands in Brooklyn just broke up. I hope some decent domestic stores are carrying this slap in the face.
Get this from Double Dot Dash Records.