Whereas the genre of punk and its corresponding scene have long been stereotypically perceived as confrontational, a lot of current artists don’t resonate any sense of urgency whatsoever. With the advent of pop-punk, the vast majority of UK punk bands appear to be male dominated units lamenting their dull love lives whilst awkwardly trying to grapple with issues they don’t fully understand, let alone have experience with. Granted, there are a myriad of DIY artists doing the genre justice right now – Dream Nails, Nova Twins and Petrol Girls for example – but the wider scene is lacking ingenuity, both in terms of musical and lyrical progression. Enter Without The Eyes, the debut record from electro-punks CLT DRP and a record that is crucially required in every way possible.
Simply put, every aspect of this bold record is provocative in the best way possible. Opening with a brief introduction that humorously – yet assertively - confirms the true pronunciation of the band’s namesake prior to firmly setting the record in motion with the chugging ‘I ‘Don’t Want To Go To The Gym’, Without The Eyes is utterly fearless in the way it provokes with its uniquely urgent sound. Whilst the record incorporates Meshuggah’s musical abuse, Death Grips’ outsider aggression, the chemical energy of The Prodigy, PJ Harvey’s raw fuzz, Raketkanon's madness and Peaches’ attitude, to say the group is remotely reminiscent of such acts would be too restrictive.
This unique sound is in part due to guitarist Scott Reynold’s tone. Whereas the very backbone of this record sounds like synthetic instrumentation, it’s actually Reynold’s fretwork being forced through a range of effects and pedals. It’s a monstrously bedazzling sound that lends into the band’s mission statement of utmost nonconformity. With a desire to aggravate anyone they encounter, this record sees CLT DRP carve out their own niche. They stand alone, but Christ alive do they stand tall.
The other way in which Without The Eyes enchains the attention of the listener is it's frank lyricism and it's respective bludgeoning delivery. The group’s savage experiments on genre dynamism serve as the vessel for the their ethos, with the record both offering empowerment to womxn whilst retaking feminine sexuality from the claws of the male gaze. These crucially vital messages are also intertwined by the personal experiences of frontwoman Annie Dorrett, who provides personal amplification to such narratives.
As proven with the snarling, adrenaline pumping haste of ‘Where the Boys Are’, the poetically damaged tongue twister of ‘Seesaw’ and the glitching ‘Speak To My’, the group’s documentation of feminism and sexuality is delivered both with lived in experience and a level of obscene bluntness that retakes the power from those who unrightfully hold stereotypical feminine expectations. In relation, the mad raving ‘Worth It’, a track that sounds like a noise-rock danceparty with punk sensibilities, sees the band viciously battling with feminine oppression and offering a battle cry to those who need empowerment. With the way CLT DRP hammer these messages into your cortex, it’s impossible to separate them from the music.
This may seem like the record is consistently musically feral, but there are moments of meditate stillness. However, whilst such sonic lulls are often utilised by such musically uncompromising artists to provide respite, these moments of quietness are predatory and still relentless in nature. ‘Zoom 20’ sees the minimalistic fretwork battling with startling monolithic walls of noise, the suitably scalping ‘Skin Remover’ bubbles with contrastive quiet grove and Dorret’s howling and the ominous ‘I Kill For Nothing’ sees the group use holistic negative space for murderous effect. It’s this constant brashness that truly keeps the record buoyant, utterly unforgettable and a crucial asset to the current punk scene.
In all, this record is simply something else. Not only is Without The Eyes is going to drop jaws and raise eyebrows en-masse, it’s set to reinvigorate a scene that’s began to suffer from stagnation. Granted, this record may be composed of a seemingly endless array of comparable elements but as a whole this is just simply unrivalled, especially given it's incomparable intensity and creativity. It's simply one of those records you get once every year or two that shakes up the scene and spawns countless imitators in it's wake. Simply, if you like your music loud, brash and pioneering, get on this - this is truly the shape of punk to come.
Without The Eyes is released August 28th via Small Pond Records.