Tue 18th December 2012
[img "/incoming/visions.jpg"right"]Recently I heard a quote. I forget the specifics but it was something along the line of, “Twitter is punk, Facebook is disco.”
The irony is not lost on me that both are huge corporations that scrape your information to market and advertise to you, and form demographics to target. Then again many say punk died with its popularity, or as soon as it assumed that name, that label.
Punk, you know punk. From the junk-shop clatter of DIY-minded types that started at the tail end of the 70s and continues apace today to the glossy American pop punk sound that is a million miles away in aesthetic and intention from those heady beginnings. There’s folks older and wiser than me who can tell you better about punk history. Anyway, Paranoid Visions.
This is punk in a sonically classicist mode, which is to say after the opening splice of samples, inclusive of a mention of Crass, we drop into something very akin to the DIY ethic and lo-fi affectation of the initial burst of the sound. And, as it turns out, featuring Steve Ignorant from Crass. So they have their connections, are clearly involved in the punk community. Apparently they are very popular in Ireland.
It’s alright. It’s punk. The lyrics do not have density, unlike say Rudimentary Peni (my last review being of covers by Chelsea Wolfe of said band) who I recently discovered compact ridiculous amounts of vocal depth and socio-political philosophy into the brevity of punk songs. Here we get some cussing, some shouting about revolution etcetera etcetera. Thanks for whatever. Lots of sloganeering. It feels anachronistic.
For all the press blurb of, Retaining the fire and the fury of punk rock but dashing it with an experimental spirit, Paranoid Visions are living proof that stretching the punk template still exists. I cannot help but feel there isn’t really all that much pushing of boundaries or experimentation. Stretching, maybe, as second song Split Personality does some interesting overdubs of whispering lyrics that add an interesting texture to the proceedings. Certainly not experimental though. In my eyes that was the whole point of “post-punk” or whatever you want to call it.
I think over the years there’s been a lot of reconciliation between diverse sounds when it comes to all music. Hybrid vigour is alive and well and snatches of punk structure live on in more vibrant sounds today. I am leery of this retro-worshipping sound-aping.
The last track, an acoustic number called Poles Apart, is interesting for its divergence. More lyrical complexity dealing with climate change and politics, it delivers itself on a bed of two effects-loaded electrics and an acoustic guitar holding the rhythm. I’m not sure if this is just an acoustic version (it is noted in brackets, suggestive of being an alternate version) but it certainly steps away from the well-trodden path the other two tracks take. That said, again it doesn’t quite take me, shake me or move me.
If you’re a die hard punk who likes the older punk sound of Engerland then there’s far worse than you could do than listen to this, but know that it does little beyond this. You will not find any surprises.