Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Lost Cherrees-A Man's Duty, A Woman's Place
Man, I just threw this on at random as I'm sitting around my room trying to figure out something to do with my day off besides drink coffee and read stuff on the internet. Good story, right? Anyway, I was knocked to my proverbial feet (definitely stayed seated, thank you very much) by how fucking outstanding this EP is. It's the sophomore effort of Scottish anarcha-feminist punk band The Lost Cherrees and, if I do say so myself, stands out as a breathtaking platter of boundary-pushing, hip-shaking postpunk interwoven with a cutting feminist critique. One of the first female-fronted UK anarchopunk bands of the 1980's (A Man's Duty...was released in 1984), TLC (tee hee) was quick to establish themselves in the genre, rising up to number 4 on the UK indie charts and playing shows with the likes of Conflict, Flux of Pink Indians, Hagar the Womb...I'm sure it's all written on the back of a jacket somewhere. And John Peel thought they were hot shit. That dude had some fucking TASTE.
The the thing that stands out about this band to me, at least on this record, is that they take the rhythmic engine that was propelling pogoing pub punks listening to Blitz and The Varukers, and used it to create driving but sophisticated pop songs.
With the lead-off track 'Blasphemy,' TLC establishes an almost doomy atmosphere, but with hooks and rhythm that no doubt packed more than a few mid 80's British dancefloors. Shit's in league with Siouxsie herself, IMO. '
'No Trouble' picks up the ambiance a little bit as the band cruises through UK Postpunk Aptitude Test #6782: Competence with Basic Reggae. Probably the least interesting song on the record, but it's catchy and the guitar solo about halfway through adds a sort of surf/psych tinge that keeps things interesting.
'Living in a Coffin' is perhaps the standout track of the EP. It's fast but relentlessly catchy, at times almost resembling a seriously darkened and reverbed-out second cousin of pop punk. But on the whole this is unquestionably the more artsy/postpunky wing of the UK anarchopunk scene of the 80's getting fucking explosive.
'Sexism's Sick pt. 1' kicks off with one of the best post-punk hooks. Ever. Period. The song after that is pretty basic (though things get a little weirder in pt. 2) but it really doesn't matter. It's just one of those tunes that holds up on its own and can be played again and again and still sound good. Luckily, in the hands of TLC we also get to hear it creatively fucked with and, most impressively, turned into a tuneful, crunchy bridge/chant "Break down the wall/Bridge the gap/Sexism's sick!" Word!
'Sexism's Sick pt. 2' makes a perfect cap. Apparently not satisfied with simply making an uber-catchy driving postpunk song, TLC takes its basic chords and fucks it up a bit more, this time with wistful acoustic guitar plucking going into rough n' tumble fuzz-drenched madness. This massive EP closes with manically bouncing drums and bass overlaid by a guitar tone akin to the robo-buzzsaw effect on display in Blitz's 'Someone's Gonna Die' and wailing vocals carrying messages about feminist struggle that would be impressive from a band today, let alone in 1983.
A Man's Duty, A Woman's Place