For those of a punky disposition, this is manna from heaven.
Andrew Perry 2009-12-02
Considering that punk rock was, for many, born in Britain in the summer of 76, and in somewhat messy circumstances, there have been precious few out-and-out punk bands in the UK these past 25 years.
Since the early-80s heyday of mohawked renegades such as The Exploited, our nation’s guitar-slinging youth have spurned hurtling, three-chord energy in favour of more artful creations. In America, punk bands are everywhere; but here, the likes of My Bloody Valentine, say, or Arctic Monkeys have assimilated punk ideas and turned them into something else instead.
In that context alone, east London’s Comanechi are extraordinary.
Formed in Dalston five years ago by Simon Petrovitch (guitar) and Akiko Matsuura (drums/vocals), the duo have thus far put out just a string of chaotic singles on various labels – it’s the hip Merok imprint whose logo is stamped here. Their debut long-player has been a while coming, but, into its 32-odd minutes of shouty, noisy music, it crams more wayward excitement, visceral thrills and variety than you could hope for from a post-millennial punk record.
Crime of Love kicks off with a squalling Prologue, as if to scare off the faint-hearted. Thereafter, tracks like Death of You showcase Comanechi’s tune-heavy approach, characterised by dense, grungy riffs from Petrovich, and, from Matsuura, both high-speed rhythmic pounding and murderous screeching – the latter usually fixating on some 18-rated psycho-sexual nightmare. Initial reference points: Sonic Youth’s Confusion Is Sex, X-Ray Spex, Nirvana circa Bleach.
Midway through, On ‘n’ On and Close Enough to Kiss introduce a slightly breezier sound, more reminiscent of poppy punks Rubella Ballet or nu-gazers Vivian Girls. Then, towards the end, My Pussy careers into ultra-heavy territory, like Black Flag meets Black Sabbath.
After the initial 12 songs have concluded in delirium, umpteen five-second tracks pass by in silence, until Track 69 – obviously! – when ROMP (Revenge of My Pussy) launches back in to frighten even the hardiest listener, with six minutes of Melvins-echoing sludge.
So, Crime of Love is quite a journey. It won’t please anyone abashed of either high-pitched screaming or explicit sexual content, but, for those of a punky disposition, it’s like manna from heaven.