Warding off demons by day, pitching up in Camp Falsetto pre-dawn chorus, the combo sing-scream and one of post-hardcore’s many punk refurbishments begs a solid ‘yeah’ or ‘yeah nah’ when adrift new ears. A voice hitting all the right spots and just a modicum of the remarkable, punk’s younger, more articulate sibling can conjure quite a zest when given time. Likewise, if something well and truly misses the mark, all can turn to ash, leaving a wasteland and reputation for whining.
A decade plumbing these depths, it’s in the last few years that I’ve felt it decent to take a whack at how ‘nu punk’ works its magic, and if a new brand of old is worthy of a past punctuated by black eyes and mohawks.
A grand old grotesque, punk isn’t beautiful – I don’t care where you’re perched. But isn’t that kind of the point? Post-harcore’s big swerve from Great Uncle Denim is the glimpse of galaxy, the wonder between all those safety pins.
In tandem, load bearers beauty and devastation keep captive those ears already attuned to a good bit of anger-babble whilst offering place for the grievers, the escapists and the dreamers. There’s still plenty of wall punching and wrenching out the copper wire but an insatiable lust-for-life to all.
An air of the irate, the continuation of protest tunes as old as the hills is undeniable, but those delicate new flourishes – octave flutters, movement between soft and harsh, breathy ambience, and lyrics favouring working through turmoil personal or political add a mysticism to the mix. Gone is the idea of crushing life to dust. Why would you? It’s already gold.
The streets are in distress, the sun suffocates behind darkened skies…
Credit to one particularly grim stint of pillowcase folding in Canada, I’m of no mind that my first shot would have gone down as smooth if not for the unexpected guidance of a renegade housekeeping manager and diversion to the blistering Ontario snowdrift Alexisonfire.
Falling in love isn’t something you brush off in later life. Years on, it speaks more fortune than magic and when you find your heart set upon, there’s bugger all you can do. From This Could Be Anywhere In The World – a scream of frivolous desperation at the Toronto homelessness epidemic, Alexis had me over a barrel. Punchy but sincere, Dallas’ funeral-march wail, George’s gravelly barks, Chris’ gat and Jordan’s blasting kept warm a spot by the window so all could share in a world slowly tearing itself to shreds. ‘Homely with a glimpse of horrifying’ suddenly answered why I felt at ease in such rough hands.
Patience when attuning to new noise is crucial (I’d been served this lesson so frequently it now may as well have come plated, with chips), so even with top-notch haunts of the Canucks on tap and my introduction to the scene sorted, there was still a fair bit of unwanted binging to get more of the good stuff. To claim fondness for a painting when you’re really only struck by that one tree seems disingenuous, so for a wee while, fandom found stasis as I continued chasing the aftershock to that emotional avalanche wrought by the Canadians.