At the risk of sounding like a broken record, where in the hell has the controversial, clever rock music gone? Some of it is still hiding out in the underground, rearing its ugly head on special occasions like Halloween, sure. But, for the most part, rock is either reduced to a PC-approved version of itself or a misanthropic offshoot that, surprise, surprise! tends to keep normie listeners away.
One antidote to both the iodine mainstream and the doom and gloom of the underground may just be the demented, dirty, and funny group calling themselves Inappropriate Erection. Their debut EP, the mysteriously titled taylor swift is law! Obey! comes out this January and will be, hopefully, an indicator of less serious times as compared to the debilitatingly depressing year that was 2020.
Musically this is a sound record, albeit not one set to break to new ground or launch a new style (although imitators are likely to appear). It’s pop-punk played with the speed and intensity of hardcore. But, with power-chords, as with most things in life, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. The layered guitars add depth to the songs, the distorted vocals add hilarious aggression, while the electronic flourishes of the bass parts keep the beat swinging back and forth maliciously.
There’s a demented glee with which songs are delivered here at breakneck pace. Clocking in at less than 8 minutes, the four-song EP is efficient in its minimalist approach. This, for some, is the quick power-walk around the block, while for others it’s the breathless run towards the last bus home.
Heaven is a whore the lead single, perhaps, best captures Inappropriate Erection and in all of their sexually deviant glory. The pacey chords and a memorable riff make harken back to pop-punk’s glory days of MTV domination. The vocals and lyrics are, even for th3se highly permissible times, not something which would escape receiving complaints from worried parents. The cheeky lyrics add the spice to make the song quotable. Still, little about the words themselves leave the impression that the singer is chuffed by the realization, or that he wishes to make declamatory, slanderous claims about whores altogether.
Boner at a funeral continues to challenge the listener’s willingness to stretch out their funny ossein. Don’t worry, be happy this is not, but the idea of going out with a bang is taken to new extremes on this track. The vocals and instrumentation continue to be penetrating (no pun intended), while any hopes that this EP could turn into a mild, polite affair are laid to rest.
Then there is Homeless loverman, a fantasy that places one of the categories most affected by modern socio-economic issues, in a position of power. The catchy tune is an ode to a homeless Lothario for to whom would gladly entrust their hearts and bodies.
Finally Clean shorts is the tale of a discreet love-affair gone wrong. The main character is forced to flee to safety with only his shorts left to cover him. The urgency of the singing seems to suggest that, simply, no other way was available, although it does not betray feelings of regret.
And, that’s what’s at the heart of this EP. In an age where much of media is suffocated by apologetic messages for ordinary and dubious alike, Inappropriate Erection is unrepentant. taylor swift is law! Obey! is certainly a joke made in bad taste. But, it’s also relentlessly catchy, powerful, and passionate, rock’s core ingredients. The record makes us wonder what’s next from this pop-punk group.