Here's a quick story, loyal anti-fans. I was at a concert the other night, and it wasn't very entertaining. Long story short, a group of friends and I left a song or two early to beat the post-concert crowds. A random dude clad in atypical punk garb approached us, and asked if any of us would mind purchasing a demo CD from his band, The Amnesiacs. Quizzing him a bit intensely, I found the band played vintage street punk and was based in the nearby town of Holland. I promised to review their demo, Young & Loud, and spread the word about their blooming young band.
Having now listened to the tiny demo (four songs at just short of nine minutes) The Amnesiacs strike me as being decent compared to what normally constitutes "punk rock" in my politically correct, backwards, bible-thumping, right-wing, suburban town. Most of the punk in my area consists of horribly bland pop-punk; the scene is so bad I have generally refused to see anything remotely punk, ska, or power pop for many a month. The Amnesiacs play "street punk," and to me this sounds like The Exploited and The Clash, maybe even the earlier works of the Casualties. The production has a raw, hiding in the alley-ways during a revolution of violent proportions type feel. It has the whole "British punk fearing the I.R.A." vibe along with it as well. The vocals are coarse, uncompromising, and sneering loogies with their violence aimed at catchy choruses railing against society, Iraq, and other things punks from the 1970's-early 1980's rocked out to. The vocals in fact are the best part. The drums are fast, simple, and crazed as they should be for a band of this nature, but the production is so D.I.Y. piss-poor that they sound muted and muffled. The guitars could use more crunch as well, as ironically the clearest guitar tones have to do with the quieter passages as opposed to the driving three-chord riffs.
"Social Status" kicks off with a sample of a bunch of gabbing people before The Amnesiacs blast out a short hardcore punk anthem with catchy, simple, and most importantly NON-POPPY vocals. Rather than sounding like say Green Day, vocalist Seth sounds like a coarser version of Johnny Rotten himself. "Fight Against It" is probably the best track, a quiet guitar passage adding much needed clarity and urgency before another face-ripping fight-punk song. "Young & Loud" has wailing sirens being chased by speedy punk choruses proclaiming youth and noise in arnarchic fashion. "Iraqi Freedumb" has a nice set of melancholy guitar to open with, before the band lashes out with the (in my opinion) second strongest track on this short demo disc.
In conclusion, the production hurts this a lot as does the short length. The whole punk mythos has always been louder, faster, crazier, so I guess that really length isn't too valid of a factor. Trust me when I say however that the production here is like an ugly step-child; it has a sound only a mother can love, that is if one is so inclined to like their punk with polish. Personally this doesn't deter me, as I like the raw aggression the primitive taping adds. Regardless, these guys should inject some real energy into my local scene, and I'll be watching out for them more often.
for more info check www.purevolume.com/amensiacs (free mp3s for all!)