Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Joe 4 Njegov Sin
It's been a few months, and a partial change of language for Joe 4. On their last EP, the gutteral grunts and hoarse exhortations were nominally in English, now it appears they're doing the same in their native tongue. That's a good thing. Seriously. I don't speak a lick of Croatian, so I couldn't even tell you if that's what the language is, but you can tell when someone is expressing themselves in a language they understand or not. Nothing is more unintentionally funny, nor more maddening than the horrible turns of phrase when the author isn't using the language their heart speaks- like teenage poetry, it might make sense to the author, but it ends there. Meanwhile, I can read the intent here- these are exhortations, grunts, and yelps- the impression is of alienation and passion in equal degrees.
So, how's the music? Remember how I said they were driving a beat into the ground, last time? They still go in for repetition, and drone, and heavy beats, but there's a lot more dynamics, now. The effect is not unlike an organic version of Big Black, or any other expression of Steve Albini's singular muse in that direction-The songs pound and pummel, while the guitars seek to play a counter to the machinery of the bass and drums- not a counter melody, necessarily ( though there are some pretty bits, like the first minute of "Houlihan") but a counter nonetheless. Yes, Albini recorded this, and Weston mastered it, like in the days of yore, but it doesn't entirely have the characteristic Albini dryness- there's a little bit more old school reverb and compression- you know who it sounds like recording-wise? Iain Burgess. That might not seem like much to you, but for old Chicago Hardcore veterans like me, that name carries serious weight. This seriously could be an early to mid 1980's Chicago or Minneapolis post-punk record- and here's where I get obscure, but bear with me- I could see them on a bill with Rifle Sport, Breaking Circus, and Big Black. Now, getting less obscure- they sound like the beta version of what became the AmRep sound. I know people will simply hear this as a variation of that fabled AmRep/Touch and Go/ "Pigfuck" sound, but quite frankly, it's the sound that came before that.
So, here's my statement- they've improved greatly, and they were good before. If this were the golden days of Indie recording, I'd say somebody sign them, right now. However, as we're now in the digital era, I'm saying hie thee unto Bandcamp, get this, and start demanding your local greasy dive book them ASAP. Yes, now.