Sunday January 21st 2018

Rictus Grin – “Pity Crew EP”


Rictus Grin – “Pity Crew EP”


Rictus Grin is kinda like stealing a car and driving it to an amusement park where it gets caught in some kind of go-cart race, then gets sideswiped and totaled, while inflatable sex dolls emerge, instead of air bags, exploding out of the dashboard while the check engine light goes on. A little girl, with a white dress and blond curls, then offers you some cotton candy to console you, which you do partake of but soon realize, it was laced with angel dust.

So you try to bum a ride back to where you originally stole the car but you’re picked up for vagrancy, thrown in a jail cell, meet your cell mate. He/she becomes your soul mate but you break out of jail and become celibate and start a new religion based on rock’n’roll, fun and booze.

Let’s listen to their reenactment of these events as they are happening:

All the songs on this EP start with sampled sound bites from movies and “W.D.F.W.Y” is no exception. But this an exceptionally great song that sounds like complete chaos but is really, well thought out and true. The letters stand for, “We don’t fuck with you,” and the music starts with a country guitar lick, most likely stolen from the popular sixties show, “Green Acres.” The vocals press against you like bugs getting killed on your windshield doing 95 down 95, while the music pulls up to let the guitar hit another annoying sign telling you to buckle up. The guitar players shout “Oi” and a nursery rhyme chorus springs up like a Jack In The Box on crack, from the floorboards. And, fuck it! This is complete chaos and complete nonsense that I’m writing, too! But not really, because cross my heart and hope to die, this is a complete fuckin’ masterpiece.

“Boot Queers” starts with a sample from Divine, probably from Pink Flamingos, a film by John Waters who would be our President now in a fair world. “Filth is my life,” might well be the motto for Thrash N Bang, but it should ring a bit true for all of us. The guitars are feeding back only in anticipation of the fierce vocals to come ripping through like a toxic tornado. “We don’t give a fuck if you have a cunt or dick,” but no mention of one like me, who has neither! And “fuck the fuckin’ assholes,” which I concur is morally correct, before a minimal guitar lead intrudes upon the madness, which sounds like a drunk swerving not to fall into the gutter where the dog shit lays. This song doesn’t sounds like anything you know unless you’ve heard Poly Styrene jamming with jazz saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders or maybe, if you’ve heard another perfect song.

“Sloppy Fuckin’ Drunk (Oi, Oi, Oi)” is a fuckin’ drunk song with fuckin’, socially conscious lyrics that rocks into chaos and madness because we know that all we’ve been taught is wrong because all that we sense is right. The guitars roar while the drums play a hoedown country shuffle at warp speed and the feedback slices in cutting our frontal lobe in two. A nifty, note stingy, guitar solo pops in with background vocals answering with a shouted “Oi” and though I believe I might’ve already reviewed this song, it’s great enough to write about twice. And it’s a cover of a Japanese Oi band named Beer Belly who are the best band in the world.

“Pity Crew” has a more conventional hardcore song structure with guitar leads still tap dancing on a tightrope, nearly falling into the abyss at any moment. “Fuck everyone you know.” Which would seem a frightfully, tedious chore but when it proceeds a dissonant three note lead filled with glee and pleasure, then we know we must gather our wits about us and fuck away. The guitar continues to dance while the vocals insist on ripping our ears a new one. A fuckin’ Oscar Meyer wiener of a tune.

“Ruh Roh” is a song that is over a minute long, has guitar that takes its inspiration from surf, spaghetti westerns and new wave to create a spider web of sound that we can’t help but to fall into it’s seductive stickiness. Then the song sucks the guts out of our bodies and vomits the remains on the speakers that we, dutifully, clean up. The rhythm heats up after a verse or two and the vocals emit venom and aggression at a desperate pace. It ends with a cool, musical freak out in the experimental/noise vein.

This band is over the top energy, guitars feeding back or laying down simple two or three note leads, whilst odes to beer and Oi and nursery rhyme melodies run abreast of hysterically intense hardcore vocals that chirp atop the music of noise/ punk/ Oi/ hardcore splendor.

This band sounds like Adam & The Ants meeting jazz guitarist Sonny Sharrock on a train drinking Thunderbird wine, then they all decide to huff some glue before starting a high school marching band.

This is highly original music here, this is highly great music here. This is taking the best of punk, hardcore, Oi and experimental music and shaping it into a form that recalls to me everyone from Richard Hell & The Voidoids, to Captain Beefheart to Bikini Kill and No Wave. And this is music that is wild, exuberant, chaotic and fun.

I used to think that Rictus Grin was just a fun, drunk, punk band and I think that description is still true. But now I hear them, also, as what if an avant-garde jazz musician from the forties, like Sun Ra, quit jazz and decided to start an Oi band.

None of my descriptions, I feel, are too far off to describe music like this, that is so far off the grid as this, or that is as great as this, music truly is.

Find better music out there that is new and convince me that’s its better. I dare you.

You won’t.

Whoops! I meant to say, you can’t.


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