Thursday, February 5, 2015
The Penetrators on Windian Records
1982. There was a little band releasing some pretty great punk/new wave stuff from Syracuse called The Penetrators. I thought at first writing 'Syracuse New Wave!' on the back of their singles was a joke, maybe making fun of Flock of Seagulls or the advent of synths in everything, the opposite of their raw, sleazy garage they were playing from but this A-Side really combines that cranky production quality with a weirdo punk Devo sound that is actually the good stuff you would call new wave. Weird and fun, perfect for MTV, who they submitted a video to for this song and even include the rejection letter as the insert. Oh what could have been.
A-Side's "Shopping Bag" opens on a heavy crackling riff broken down into raw single note melody that Jack follows with his sneering vocal sliding in right behind these notes. That chorus that jumps in barely a verse later is the best, perfect '80s attitude, being on the outside looking in. That melody follows nothing but more importantly is the slappy paper bag snare that almost comes off as a cheapo drum machine perfect sounding drenched in treble. The video is priceless and captures that punk rejection of the rampant consumerism that was the order of the day in that era of Regan. This version sounds different than the video track though. A fuzzy garage solo between this chorus of Shopping bag / Shop / ping Bag / live your life in a is beyond perfect. You know they're goofing on this in a pop way that almost fits who they're talking about. Making anti-music for those consumers. If this was played even for a week on MTV that would have been the best biting the hand scenario.
B-Side's "Everybody Needs Lovin'" is more of their now goofy punk with what must be a heavy influence of the '80s at work, the vocals selling this sleezy character after the ladies. Another expert single note melody for a perfect pairing with that A-Side. You can't help but laugh with this weirdness but they actually are more than competent performers which just confuses things further...were these guys playing the shitty punk spots in Syracuse or pulling the wool over some eyes at the New wave spots? Both? I thought I liked them before, but this one is exactly the place you should have ended up in the early eighties.
Get this reimagined reissue, since it never actually came out once they spent all their money on that video(?)- from Windian Records.