Pound Land – Can’t Be Arsed

Posted: 24 February 2022 in Albums
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cruel Nature Recordings – 11th March 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Following on from their eponymous debut, Pound Land – the duo consisting of vocalist/lyricist Adam Stone (Future Bomb/Holy Ghost People/frequent collaborator with Dead Sea Apes) and multi-instrumentalist Nick Harris (Reverends of Destruction/ ex-Dead Sea Apes) return with what they describe as ‘eight tracks of post-industrial post-hardcore dead-pan misery – a ‘kitchen-sink’ punk for the 21st century’.

The album title isn’t one that’s likely to see Pound Land crashing the charts, and it’s one that runs the risk of drawing easy criticism, if its contents doesn’t hit the mark for some. But then, it’s a double-bluff, because ant critic who criticises the band for sounding like they can’t be arsed clearly can’t be arsed to critique with any effort.

They slap in straight away with the blunt and subtle as a brick ‘Twatted’, and it’s a six-minute barrage of top-endy guitar racket, a simple chord sequence put through the wringer after a succession of pedals with distortion and reverb and maybe a hint of flange. The lead guitar is sinewy, a snaking twang of treble and it’s so, so raw. A primitive drum machine sound thwacks away and Stone mumbles the expletive-laden lyrics in a northern drawl: ‘You know what I’m fucking saying, mate? Everyone’s a fucking twat, mate.’ It’s raw and it’s real. The production values are bargain basement and then some, and around the mid-point they come on full Fall circa 1983 as they bludgeon away at their wonky guitar racket.

‘Brain Driver’ is a dingy mess of seething, writing no-wave and industrial racket by way of a backing to a monotone vocal performance, and this time it’s six-and-a-half minutes of dirge-like scrapings and discomfort, but they’re just warming up for the album’s thirteen-minute centrepiece, ‘Tony Ex-Miner’. It’s a sparse, grating synth effort, like Suicide without the rhythm. It’s an atonal droning expanse of bleakness that saps your very soul. This is a reason to appreciate it, in case you’re wondering. A sampled narrative about Margaret Thatcher is almost, but not fully, audible.

The sneering grunge squall of ‘Tapeworm’ follows more conventional punk/rock structures; drums, bass, guitar come together to grind out a thunderous wall of noise, and it’s early Head of David that comes to mind as they slowly tug your entrails out and squeeze the mess of guts as they spill. There is nothing pretty or pleasant about this, not the dingy murk of the title track or the dislocated electronic dissonance of the disorientating slur of ‘Total Control’, that sounds like Stone retaining control of his bowels and bladder is no small feat. ‘I look after my mind’, he drones, detached, alone on the dark.

The compositions, such as they are, are sketchy, minimal, and there’s little to cling to by way of melody: instead, Pound Land drag you through city back alleys clogged with litter, smeared dog shit and the puddled piss of street drinkers – mate. The subject matter may be kitchen sink, but the atmosphere is abject and apocalyptic. It’s an album for out times. You’re not supposed to like it.

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