The Distractors – Subversiv Dekadent

Posted: 24 April 2021 in Albums
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Trash Wax Recordings – 14th May 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Belgian four-piece The Distractors formed in 2019, and despite the last year and a bit not being the time for bands to build a fan base through live activity, they’ve managed to deliver their debut long player, which they’re the first to admit is an homage to their influences, as filtered through the band’s quirky, anarchic creative methods and general disregard for orthodoxy.

‘Everybody Hates Poetry’ is a straight-ahead punk three-chord thrash with gruff vocals that isn’t a million miles from The Anti-Nowhere League, and immediately establishes their style and credentials. And there really is nothing fancy about any of this. It’s a no-messing punk album, and you could pretty much leave it at that.

For a movement that was so revolutionary in terms of its achievements, a lot of punk music wasn’t nearly that innovative, although it’s perhaps a fair assessment that the most commercially successful and renowned punk acts of that first watershed were the least innovative and most accessible. The likes of Sex Pistols, Sham 69, and The Vibrators, on reflection, were just pub rock cranked up a few notches, and pretty tame. Real punk was Wire, Metal Urbain, Throbbing Gristle, bands that challenged both the establishment and musical convention. I say ‘was’, as punk rapidly transitioned from anti-establishment to an establishment of its own, a genre rather than an attitude.

But The Distractors combine both: punk style and punk attitude, and that’s the selling point behind Subversiv Dekadent, an album that does live up to its title, by and large.

Simple chord sequences – no more than three or four – are standard, and the songs are very much cut from the simple-but-effective mould or energetic primitivism.

‘The Night is Young (and So Are You)’ has an element of wrongness to its lyrics, and also mines a surf-punk seem that’s big on reverb and swagger, with contrasting guitar parts that balance the choppy and the noodly to strong effect. ‘Love You to the Max’ isn’t exactly tender, but it’s heartfelt and brimming with passion, and with a picked, chiming guitar in the verses, it’s got dynamic range, too. ‘To Hell With Good Intentions’ is one of those full-throttle ragers that slams in hard and fast and is all over in under two minutes. It’s not pretty, but it is strong – and that’s probably a fair summary of the album as a whole.

The innovation and uniqueness ratings for Subversiv Dekadent are low, but that’s not the point: the fury and energy ratings are off the scale, with the driving, gritty guitars cranked up really high and the energy and passion going up to eleven. Subversiv Dekadent is loud, fast, and it’s exciting. And that’s what a punk album ought to be.

AA

Artwork

Comments
  1. The Distractors says:

    Thanks guys! You get it.

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