Sunday, 21 May 2017
Review: A Victim Of Society - Freaktown
When a press release arrives stating a band sound like "sort of what The Black Angels and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club might sound like if they had covered MC5 album 'Kick Out The Jams'" you think a) Bloody hell, that's gonna be good or b) someone out there may need to get their ears syringed. By dint of the fact that I've chosen to review this should give you a clue as to which way this is going. A Victim Of Society are a trio out of Athens who have already appeared on one of Fuzz Club's excellent 'Reverb Conspiracy' compilations and shared stages with The Black Angels, Moon Duo and Dirty Beaches and so have the credentials....and I gotta say...'Freaktown' is a doozy of an album! Inner Ear are the label responsible for it's release...kudos!
Right from the get-go 'The Quick and the Dead' throws us neck deep into some scorching neo-psych. It's not hard to fathom where the statement in press release was born...the vocals have Black Angels written all over them, with maybe a tad more attitude, and the guitars are white hot, veering between down and dirty rock'n'roll a la the MC5 and fuzzy 'wall of sound' material. It is as visceral an opening as any album I've heard of late. That hi-octane tempo is continued with 'Potential Mental Patient', all crashing drums and swirling guitars and brimful of attitude. It has more of garagey vibe to it than the opener but still falls firmly in the neo-psych category. 'Liar' throws some mean 'n moody post-punk into the mix with the guitars having a touch of the Bauhaus about them, that same echoey ring. The intro to 'Would You Care' is a stark affair - just what sounds like the ticking of a clock and some industrial percussion but normal service is resumed when the chiming guitars enter the fray. The track on the whole is a more melancholic one, the guitar is plaintive where previously it had soared triumphantly but the power and the passion is still there. 'Amnesia' opens with a four on the floor drum pattern before everything gets a bit manic. This is, to me, the standout track of the album...it has real spirit and a strays from the neo-psych path into freaky, high tempo surf...it's real 'blink and you'll miss it' stuff but has a punk energy that is irresistible. Next up comes 'A Painful Heritage of Beauty (Natalie)'...I don't know who Natalie is but she has lent her name to another blistering track. The vocals are dripping in snotty punk attitude while the music is more driving, muscular neo-psych. 'Attention Whore' is more pumping rock'n'roll with a fuzzy vibe...there is no let up at all in the adrenalin levels of this album...it's all impressively fast paced. The album is brought to a close with the title track; another winner from its eighties synthpop intro to its goth inflected guitars and tribal drums.
I tend to get a bit bored with some neo-psych albums...they can be a bit samey, but not with this crew. There is variety throughout whilst sticking to a gameplan. The guitars are nice and fuzzy and the pace does not drop at all. It is a real rollercoaster of a ride from the first note to the last. As to the press release statement....it's pretty spot-on; you can hear The Black Angels and BRMC in the music whilst some of the more R'n'R passages have that protopunk spirit that the MC5 had. All in all, a damn fine album! The vinyl and CD versions can be scored from the Inner Ear webshop here and the album can be steamed and purchased as download from the Bandcamp page here.