West Wickhams – This circus is over
Genre: Post-Punk, Gothic / Dark Wave, Indie Rock
The so-called post-punk bands always had a knack for finding a problem and then exploiting it to its limit in the form of a song. Sure, this was something that the original punk bands had explored as a strategy as well. But, those groups, usually, got stuck in the fact that, really, they just sounded like rock n’ roll groups that played loud, sloppy, and full of excitement. How anxious could you make an Elvis riff sound anyway?
The bands that followed them, however, usually, stuck around long enough to get good at developing their sound, playing their instruments, and learning what they really wanted their material to be about. Usually, it turns out, this generation of bands was less interesting in political revolution, but in all the issues that first had to be solved about oneself.
So it is that post-punk often sounds like music that is supposed to accompany a lonely walk through a strange city. West Wickham’s This circus is over sounds like an abstract diary entry about being stuck with solitary walks in a dead-end town. The stylish, expressionist Nouvelle Vague showcases what the psychedelic duo praises most of all. This is the sound of loneliness, but it is stylish as hell. Goes down well with a French movie and an unfiltered cigarette.
Carry the 9 – Long Haul
Genre: Punk, Pop-punk
People who feel a great sense of kinship with a music scene hate the ones that they perceive to be poseurs. Why would they even care, you may ask. It’s not like anybody goes to see the endless Stars Wars pre-sequels and begins wondering whether the person sitting next to them in the cinema has enough knowledge of George Lucas’ space fantasy to be deemed worthy of watching this.
The only difference is that Star Wars, ideally, is made for mass consumption. It succeeds when a lot of people, from very different backgrounds, opt to embrace it and, err, buy some merchandise. Most music scenes are created by a handful of people. If the music is compelling enough it gathers a few thousand more. If, by some miracle, aspects of the culture slip into the mainstream, it can add a lot more fans. Naturally, the ones that came up with the ideas and put in the work, will feel insulted by having somebody who hasn’t suffered in the same way join their movement. This is why people dislike poseurs.
Carry the 9’s Long Haul goes to prove that they are lifers, not poseurs. Their passion for highly melodic, energy-filled pop-punk has been part of their lives for so long that it cannot leave them. What do punks do once they grow up? Hopefully, if they really meant what they said in the first place, they keep making music and find a way around their day-to-day responsibilities. It’s hard not to feel for these folks, especially when they’ve clearly spent the time sharpening their craft.