Saturday, 7 September 2013


Wake up. Dispel the morning phantoms. Somehow acquire The Orwells' Who Needs You EP. Put your headphones on, or at least use some damn speakers that go damn loud, and bathe in the noise, grit and bouncy distortion that possesses these four songs. For me personally, it's a self-indulgent trip back to a breed of music that used to be all I liked when I was younger - it's also a brilliant continuation of a sound that, despite the inevitable detractions and purist naysayers, deserves to be nurtured and revitalised (not just kept in a Misfits/Black Flag/Ramones-shaped museum); and here it has been damn well revitalised.

The Orwells - Grant Brinner (bass), Henry Brinner (drums), Dominic Corso (guitar), Matt O'Keefe (guitar) and Mario Cuomo (vocals - no relation to Rivers Cuomo from Weezer, just a cool surname) - released their debut album Remember When last year and first EP, Other Voices, in June this year. This one, Who Needs You, is out 9th September on National Anthem records. There's gotta be a second album coming out pretty soon - that's just me speculating; I don't know really. What I do know, or what I believe - FEEL even - is that this EP will certainly tide over fans of the band and fans of thrash-pop-punk-lo-fi-rock stuff. Or perhaps it will just make you hungry for more. Yes, it's that tasty.

It begins with title-track 'Who Needs You', (which I wrote about, along with its video, in more detail last month) a loud and anthemic party-piece that is or could be a protest song for all us lost millennials: it's filled with pacifist leanings - "You better toss your bullets / You better hide your guns / You better help the children / Let them have some fun" - and bolshy self-disinheritance, i.e. "Listen up forefathers / I'm not your son". To be honest, this song stands out as different from the other three - it's like their "coming out" song. A more polished sound that, perhaps, will make its way onto their next release, or a one-off anthem: who can say?

Next up is one of two "Rip-offs" on the album, 'Open Your Eyes' - apparently a song done in the style of The Misfits. I think this "rip-off" thing is quite a neat idea - rather than just covering a song, they've paid a more meaningful homage to a band that has influenced many punk bands before. What's the saying? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? That doesn't even work in this case. Forget that. In any case, 'Open Your Eyes' resembles The Misfits mostly in vocal style. It opens with a gutsy snare roll and some thrashing distorted guitar and goes on to be exceedingly proficient in the low-end of the spectrum, the bass guitar and kick drum rumbling and thumping inescapably as Cuomo gives some gravelly rockabilly drawl to lyrics like "I wanna be your, be your, be your man" in this pogo-stickin' love song.

Then there's some heavy lo-fi goodness in 'Salvation Is A Parking Lot' - a Black Lips "rip-off" that has its similarities in the slap-dash fuzz of the general sound and the multi-voiced refraining chants of the chorus. This one is a glorious mess of noise complete with truncated guitar solo in the middle. A hot 'n' sweaty sound. The EP finishes with a live rendition of 'Halloween All Year', a dark subversion of doo-wop '50s prom-night rhythms complete with horror-tinged lyrics, such as, "There's a body on the ceiling looking for me / Get a knife from the kitchen and follow me" and "Take a drink from the vial / And laugh with me". They sound very good live. Cuomo is particularly impassioned, spluttering/laughing in the second half whilst belting out the lyrics. A suitable end to a punch-in-the-face of an EP.

So much energy. I love it. It's great. What else can I say? Jeez. Just listen to it. It's intense, fun, playful, noisy, bouncy, ballsy, raw... All of that. It's good shtuff. Get it.

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