Pic by Glen Schenau
There was a while there when it seemed like every time you went out to a rock show in Brisbane you knew everyone in the room. And that’s sick for a while. But slowly whispers crept in: where are the kids. Where are the young punk bands starting out? Did everyone just wanna be a DJ or a singer-songwriter? There were the Goon Sax yeah but they seemed so mature, so Chapter Music ready after just like, 6 months, that it almost didn’t really count.
Pious Faults aren’t the first in the movement of younger aggressive bands pushing their way onto lineups again, but they’ve turned heads the quickest. Exciting enough to convince Tenth Court to release this tape after just a couple of shows, they make fast, grim, serious music. At just a bit over 5 minutes, it’s an intense, pressurised experience. Though ‘Our Comfort’, an opus at 1:34 minutes, shows they can make, you know ‘songs’. This is confident, self-assured stuff – sure, sing a song in French why the fuck not. These guys, by virtue of being relatively new to the scene as I know it (though at least a couple have been in other bands), are free from the ubiquitous forced irony of Brisbane rock and roll. From the underlying unspoken rule that sure, you can make punk music, but it’s got to be funny. You can’t really mean it.
Still, it makes me slightly uneasy that one of the most exciting bands I’ve seen in Brisbane recently is four dudes playing music reminiscent of ‘80s East Coast American punk. A scene of almost entirely self-serious dudes that set the blueprint of how we think of punk music until too recently- as a bunch of skinny white men singing vicious, purposefully unfeminine music. All under a guise of progressiveness because hey, it’s not ACTUALY masculine or aggressive, because they’re not big enough to ACTUALLY beat anyone up. Probably. This isn’t the bands fault. It should just be about the music. If only I could stop noticing this shit.
I got off track here. I like this record a lot – I wanna see a Brisbane punk band not shoot themselves in the foot with a lack of self-confidence and ambition. And from lines like ‘we no longer adapt to our surrounds / we now adapt our surrounds to us’ and the general manifesto-like feel of the record, this doesn’t seem like an issue for these guys just yet. I also wanna see young kids getting angry about the right shit, I wanna hear fuck-off tough riffs and someone do something interesting with fast guitar music – and that’s all right here on this tape.
But I also wanna believe that it’s not just young dudes who are allowed to do it. And that this is the beginning for punk kids in Brisbane, with more diverse bands hot on their heels with even more ferocity. I want to believe that a smart label like Tenth Court – one of my favourites – doesn’t have almost exclusively mostly-male bands on their roster on purpose, that they’re just as desperate for some different voices as me. I don’t wanna give up on guitar music because the real innovators moved on to pop and dance a long time ago. And I’m gonna keep writing about this stuff because I can’t play guitar and I don’t know what else to do. This is a good record.