From folk to punk – you can’t wistfully stare into the clouds forever. Besides, my first albums were from the likes of The Clash and The Ramones (but definitely not The Sex Pistols). After indulging myself in the politically-charged sounds of London Calling and Give ‘Em Enough Rope punk kind of died down a bit because let’s honest, the influx of American ‘punk’ bands such as Blink-182, Sum 41 or any other numbered verb just didn’t cut it for any genuine punk fans.
If you wanted to listen to punk that was bouncy and catchy, you’d have to venture into the realms of ska and see bands like Catch 22 and Capdown but again, these guys didn’t really encapsulate the sound that took over the late 70s and 80s. Admittedly, I don’t really know much about new bona fide punk bands now with only The Restarts residing on my iPod. But should The Restarts sit alongside them? No.
Bleeding Knees Club – a two-piece from Queensland, Australia – aren’t a modern reincarnation of The Ramones (they’re two members short). Instead, they blend a healthy mix of influences from punk, surf-rock and garage. They released their debut album Nothing To Do earlier this year in February. It didn’t shake the industry in any sense of the word but it didn’t exactly ninja-sneak into record stores either – these guys are loud!
‘Teenage Girls’ opens with some weird processed guitars. This is only to throw you off before it crashes into some typically punk-driven guitar thrashing. The lyrics follow the same theme too, short, punchy and with very little ambiguity in the meaning. Punks (aka slightly unruly teenagers) don’t piss about; they tell it how it is and if you don’t like it, try not to moan at one. But for those of us who have grown out of sticking two fingers up at the establishment, it might be a little weird listening to a tune that, let’s face it, idolises teenage girls. Fortunately, Alex Wall (vocals, drums) and Jordan Malane (vocals, guitar) are young enough to write and play this tune (at least I think they are). Just get over yourself though because this is a tune that makes us all most of us wish we were eighteen or any other age where you were pissing off your parents and staying out way beyond your bedtime drinking cheap, generic alcohol and smoking apple bongs (as the video suggests).
As with most punk albums (unless it’s The Clash) the sonic range isn’t particularly expansive and the composition isn’t what you’d called experimental. But then again, that isn’t what you ask for in a punk album. Tracks are short (rarely extending past the three-minute mark), pithy (George Orwell would be impressed) and even catchy at times. The surf-rock influenced ‘Girls Can Do Anything’ wouldn’t go amiss at a beach party. ‘Lipstick’ is another one that is slightly gentler on the ears, both aurally and lyrically, there’s even a little solo to serenade any young lovers who might need a little help making love in their cars.
It’s refreshing to find a new punk band that I actually like! It’s easy to be snobby about a genre that dominated my teenage-hood but BKC interpretation of garage punk is enjoyably nostalgic. Real, hardcore punk fans will of course scoff at the sound but let’s face, punk is never going to sound like it did back in the 70s. But BKC kept one facet of the genre that made it so endearing, that cheap, tinny sound that says “we don’t need to throw cash at an expensive producer to make our album sound good, this is what it sounded like in our garage and that’s how it’s going to sound in your headphones”. So if you’re sat in your expensive reading this on an expensive screen under the comfort of a well-insulated roof wondering when the last time you had fun was; listen to some Bleeding Knees Club and reminisce.