THE BEGINNING

The latest 7″ singles by Athens Polytechnic, Vondel Park, Grouplove, Civil Civic and Dog Bite

athenspolytechnic

ATHENS POLYTECHNIC
Selling Out Fast
(Self Released)

If you’ve ever seen south London five-piece Athens Polytechnic scream their way through a live set, duel ‘singers’ Rory and Tommy twitching uncontrollably and continually pacing back and forth, respectfully, you’ll know that their brand of punk is a little hardcore and a lot of a laugh. Take away their hotchpotch look (even more punk than their music is that they couldn’t care less about haircuts and jeans) and Rory’s moshpit, wild performance style, and we’re left with something that feels more snotty and antagonistic.

The band are still having fun throughout this, their debut five-track EP, often breaking down their young man retching screams into drunken mumbles (halfway through tracks like ‘Where Did All The Young Men Go?’, which fleetingly makes them sound like fellow Clash fans The Libertines), name-checking Alexandra Burke through ‘Last Good Citizen’ and calling one track ‘And I Would Have Gotten Away With It As Well If It Wasn’t For Those Meddlin Books’, which is their silliest title yet (sillier even than ‘Cameron Youth’) but definitely their most catching song here.

‘Selling Out Fast’ isn’t a novelty release – it’s simply a ‘complete’ collection of punk songs that dare to enjoy themselves as they piss off parents. If a band like Flats are our new Sex Pistols, Athens Polytechnic are our new Replacements – they’ll care what you think even less.

GROUPLOVE
Colours
(Chess Club)

When Modest Mouse released ‘Float On’ many thought they’d found their new favourite, happy-go-lucky indie band, only to find out that they’d fallen for an outfit with a dark past. It might be a similar deal with GROUPLOVE of course, but debut single ‘Colours’ once again suggests that we’ve come across a band to cheerily bob about to, gleefully ignoring the warning signs because their pop music is just so sing-a-ble. Slightly manic as if close to breakdown, singer Christian even sounds like Isaac Brock, but if GROUPLOVE can remain demon free, think just how uplifting an album of ‘Float On’s could be.

CIVIL CIVIC
Lights On A Leash
(Too Pure)

It’s hard to tell what the hell ‘Lights On A Leash’ is. At first it seems to be some austere, lyric-less homage to the early work of The Cure, cold and echoey in its spindly post-punk guitar riff. There’s a krauty simplicity there too as monotonous, stark drums click on before the eventual eruption of sonically disrupting guitars fuzz over a keyboard that’s more than a little bit Metronomy. Five minutes later and this third single by Civil Civic is no easier to get a handle on, but while the first listen suggests some vocals won’t go a miss, the second simply asks to be turned up.

DOG BITE
Machino Machino
(Young Turks)

If Dog Bite – or Phil Jones Jnr. from Atlanta – signifies what sound we’ll be hearing a lot more of next year (and there’s a good chance that he does – with the advent of ‘chillwave’ in 2010 and krautrock having made a return we’re clearly not over weightless dream music just yet), we’re all in for a lot of trouble. Not because the American or ‘Machino Machino’ makes for an undesirable listen, but rather because it’s brain-stoppingly relaxed. It’s the sort of comically hippish, loop-heavy music that has you staring into the middle distance with your mouth open. It could probably be used at war.

VONDELPARK
Sauna EP
(R&S)

In today’s musical climate, when you open your debut EP with a song called ‘California Analog Dream’ and dish out that EP in a sleeve depicting the foamy surf of the west coast, you’re basically saying, “Pop us on the shelf with Wavves and all those other lo-fi garage sorts.” Unless you’re south London’s Vondelpark – a two-step operation with a live bassist that makes them sound like The xx collaborating with Burial. The four songs of ‘Sauna’ stretch on too, rarely shy of five minutes, which definitely works best on ‘Jetlag Blue Version’, which trips and beats like Janet Jackson’s saucy stuff from the early ‘90s.

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Originally published in issue 24 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. December 2010

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