Although slightly late to this bikini party (story of my life), I really enjoyed this Croatian trio’s 3rd album Rants, Riffage And Rousing Rhythms released via Geenger Records back in 2018. Although not the sort of style that I would have gone out of my way to look for, once it landed in my lap and wriggled around a little the songs and volatile mix of noise rock and hardcore punk spoke for themselves and hooked me right in. As soon as this new album landed it was a case of opting right in and hoping for some more of the same. Sure, enough here we have another tumultuous ride through ten numbers that take you on a dizzying trip that is going to really appeal to lovers who flirt with names like Steve Albini, James Plotkin and AmRep Industries. Those who like clever song titles that leave you questioning their meanings, angular riffing and songs that are described perfectly by the label as “snarky” should be advised to step right in.
Drumming and bruising melody hone right in on opener Ballerina’s Toes and the poor dancer gets her delicate tootsies stomped all over. Vocals seem a bit more sneery this time around, a bit less of the Leatherface laden hoarseness I encountered last time around and snottier and deadbeat with elongated snarls giving a little of the Pattonesque or even Steve Austin of Today Is The Day along with our own UK based noise bastard Paul Catton. The riffing is excellent and there are hooks aplenty here to reel you in like the best moments of bands like Fugazi and Unsane thrown in a blender. It’s no surprise this number is the opener and chosen for a video clip. All that is missing is said Ballerina appearing in it but I guess finding one in lockdown is quite a task and she would have limped off straight away at any rate. ‘Bride In A Torn Up Wedding Dress’ surges forth with muscular heft and anger that matches the imagery the title invokes in the mind. I can’t quite make out the lyrics but wonder if the subject matter is dishing up social observations of domestic violence. If so, I hope the bride gets some revenge and by the sound of it the marriage is destined to quickly result in a funeral. Simmering down a little ‘Night Shift Monomania’ slowly grooves away and the nasally vocals croon over the top before it bursts into life, packing a punch with the song title being spat out in distempered gobby fashion. I love the helter-skelter race that is ‘Failing As An Adult.’ Car crash of a skewed rhythm that’s all over the place much like life itself. This is a slacker anthem to all of us who have been down this twisting-turning road that’s paved with confusion and disappointment. It’s hard not to identify with it.
The songs come thick and fast but each have own identity and something about them to make them memorable. You can bounce around to ‘Feral Fun’ and then contort around its meandering riffage until you are tied in knots one second and then lurch around to a beat via what sounds like it’s knocked out on milk bottles, weaving away over ‘Son Of A Grinder.’ There’s even a touch of jazz-shoes worn on this moody number. There’s loads going on and it will take a fair-few-spins to get properly acquainted here. ‘The Wailer’ is another stand-out number and one that begs a dance-floor pile up whilst the pessimistic ‘Flirting With Nihilism’ provides a deadbeat at dawn, washed up on the tiles hangover as it broods and shimmers away forcing you back to wakefulness and remembering the embarrassing misdeeds of the night before. Luckily you can rehydrate and get energy back via ‘Quench’ before its counterpart ‘Oozing Optimism’ wraps things up via a thick leaden bass groove a touch of the blues and some demented dementia and lyricism about forgetfulness.
At times tough subject matter here leaves one feeling a little washed up especially if taken to heart and ills of the world are applied to one’s own life but luckily you are kept on toes throughout the 39-minute rollercoaster ride of an album and it all strikes of very honest and done by people who wear the scars on their sleeves. At first, I wasn’t sure if I was enjoying this as much as the last album but it’s a tenacious bastard and once it has a hold it won’t let go. Perhaps armour plating is worth donning before going in….
(8/10 Pete Woods)