Thursday February 22nd 2018

Innocent – “Power Hungry And Mindless”


Innocent – “Power Hungry And Mindless”


“Innocent as the driven snow,” I’ve often been referred to and no, it wasn’t in the eighties with a rolled up dollar bill up to my nose.

But I’ve lived such a truly, sheltered life, for you see… I’m quite naïve.

But really, if your eyes could see what these eyes have seen…

Which is one reason I’m attracted to this band called Innocent and their recording, “Power Hungry And Mindless,” which could be the theme song of corporate America or maybe, the government today.

This band doesn’t have a facebook page, much like two of my favorite, female fronted bands- Gas Station Girls and Firewalker. And they do songs a bit like them but all three have very different, very unique styles.

And they tag themselves simply as “punk Boston,” so who am I to add anything else to that.

I will say they fully embody, to me, not only what the sound of punk but also the feeling of it. And as someone who was there at the birth of punk I know what it sounds and feels like, at least to me.

This is some pure, honest, true, aggressive- can I say innocent?-stuff. As, not in the definition of being unaware, but in the term of not being corrupted by the powers of society around them- staying true to their art, their beliefs, their feelings.

I’ll go with that, wish that description could also apply to me. And they make me think of The Avengers, a San Francisco punk band from the seventies and probably, my favorite punk band of all time.

Let’s give their record a spin, shall we?

“Carceral State” explodes like a neutron bomb impacted in your ear drums. With buzzing, “angry wasp nest disturbed” guitar along with some slammin’ drum hits. The music reminds me of The Avengers and La Peste, the later one of Boston’s best and early punk bands. Then a piercing, high pitched female vocal juts in while the music bangs away. A carceral state is a place “modeled by the idea of a prison, a space with walls, gates, surveillance cameras and security checkpoints.” While that seems quite totalitarian and restrictive to me, this song is wild, free and fun. Oh, and powerful, too.

“Blue Wall” starts with what sounds like, a guitar caught in a mixing blender, framed by some walloping, rhythmic hits. The guitars and rhythm sound like thrash metal to me, played at a harrowing hardcore speed. There’s also a great surf like guitar solo that is biting and sharp. Plus more screaming, passionate vocals but sorry, I’m not good at deciphering lyrics so I have no clue what the songs about. But I do know the music is hard hitting, exciting and true.

“Beyond Control” comes charging out with aggressive rhythms like shoppers knocking each other over on Black Friday. All rat-a-tat drums and buzzing, fuzzing guitars and vocals starting quickly in order to get all the lyrics in. And, believe it or not, I claim to hear a drum solo somewhere in the thirty-nine seconds of this song. Whether this song is punk, hardcore or thrash- it goes by too fast to render decisive definition, but I will say every second counts and it is of near perfection.

A slower, heavy pounding, revolving rhythm begins “Existence,” where soon a grunge-y, garage-y riff rips in and I’m left with the thought of Iggy & The Stooges as a hardcore band. But then it reverts into the sweeping, electrical storm like intro. There’s a part where the guitar plays a note that swirls and stings like a bee zeroing in on it’s next victim that’s particularly awesome. Just like every song on this near perfect EP.

A young, punk girl who grew up in the city recently described myself to me, as “a very nice, innocent guy from the suburbs.” And though she said it as a compliment, I’ve never lived in the suburbs and truth be told, I’m probably one of the least innocent people she knows! It’s so inaccurate, I feel it’s similar as if someone had described me as humorless.

But she’s only known me for five years. And it makes me realize that all the hardness and nihilistic negativity of my younger years has seem to evaporated. When someone looks at me now they can’t sense any of those feelings that once existed there!

All that hard edge has been scraped away from my original being- which really was a gentle, sensitive soul before an emotionally abusive mother, before hard times working as a musician, before the hard truth’s of life got it’s grip on me and turned me into, at one point, probably not the nicest guy.

But bands like this are what matter to me, today. This is one of the best new bands I’ve heard all year, whose recording could easily land in my top ten.

“Innocent until proven guilty.”

If loving this band is a crime, lock me up (but not my penis!) and throw away the key!


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