Brought to you by The Corner and NZ On Air, Awesome Feeling 7 is an online event running through NZ Music Month 2013, culminating in the release of a free downloadable compilation of 20 New Zealand songs and the words written about them. Each weekday for 20 days we’ll post streaming+downloadable tracks from emerging local artists, accompanied by artist and track profiles authored by Corner contributors.
Here they come…. la la la la la, la. Punk owes its existence to its calls to arms as much as it does the music. One of the foremost principles in punk is that of thinking for yourself. Being a poser is punishable by way of elitist snobbery. Luckily for Trust Punks, they’re quick to admit they are only a vaguely “punk-ish” band – but considering an age where everything is derivative of the same old crap anyway, you can see why they’d pick the one influence that was at least self-aware.
If comparisons are what you’re after, Trust Punks covered it in one fell swoop: “like Deerhunter or Women or Grooms but with more neuroses,” or like “Die! Die! Die! or the Mint Chicks with slightly less.“ Personally, I see the roots going as deep as to reach bands like Wire, stammering away in ‘Map Ref. 41N 93W’; or perhaps ‘See No Evil’ by Television, with a virtuosic grandeur that builds you up only to pull the rug from right beneath you. To add injury to injury, you then look up and see a cartoonish grand piano dropping sadistically from above. To slap a big “HI MY NAME IS _____” sticker on this metaphor, the best music is the stuff that hits you. Trust Punks drop grand pianos in every single song, all the while most bands are only just perfecting the anvil trick.
‘Amphetamine Psychosis’ begins by rattling off an imaginary list of demises before proclaiming, “we can all laugh as I die.” Marge, change the channel – “I know you’re upset but please don’t hold it against him / He gets raped in prison every day.” And, with these lyrics, it is proven for the first time in a long time that irony can be used not for willful detachment, but for utter devastation. In these lyrics, here lies self-contempt, suicide, misanthropy, prison rape, drug abuse, mental illness, anti-narcoterrorism (nearly an exact quote, that one) and the guy who made McAfee virus protection… all bathing in one steaming, searing pool of blood.
Like the narrator, Joseph Thomas, the song doesn’t take long to lose its shit. After the second verse, it flails into a frantic mess where every instrument pulls away from each other, as if deciding to do its own thing for a moment before being pneumatically kicked back into place for a chorus that only actually happens once. Another verse and then that’s basically it.
Coming from the bands they’ve been in, Trust Punks hardly need any ego boosts, so with the time I have left all I’ll say is that they’re the only one of all you motherfuckers who actually have the guts to say what they mean. And that, to this jaded piece of shit, means a lot. Television’s Richard Hell said he wanted “music to be about real life again.” To him, real life seemed “dirty and crazy and intense as well as funny,” more so than fiction could ever be. Coming from a sculptor of music as imaginative and transcendental as his, that says a lot. So, by his definition and mine, Trust Punks are most definitely punk.
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