Thursday, April 05, 2007

Smash your head on the punk rock

The EPs of RP

I got this used at a heavy metal record store in Pavia, Italy. What I got is actually a burnt CD, with all the liner notes loving photocopied.

Rudimentary Peni were contemporaries of Crass and the Subhumans, and share the sound and aesthetic of those other early 80s anarcho punk bands.This ep is a reissue of their self titled and Farce eps, both from 1981.

The 12 songs from “Rudimentary Peni” are all rapid fire, with only one of them clocking in at over a minute. Most are thirty second blasts of goodness, and like the best short songs, they cram all the melody, rhythm, and angst into thirty seconds that most bands need three minutes to accomplish.

The songs reflect singer Nick Blinko’s psychiatric issues, and both vocally and lyrically he sounds on the edge. He wails out of tune about black presidents, seagulls, and wild dogs. As with his insane artwork, Blinko brings a lot more to punk than the standard “fuk the system” bluntnesst of contemporaries like Discharge.

He also has some lyric gems. My favorites are “A vicious circle of passive acceptance/passive acceptance of a vicious circle” and “we all play the same old chords/we all tread the same old boards.”

The songs from Farce are a little longer, more directly political, and toned down from the first ep. The songs are more issue-oriented, commenting on the so-called generation gap, the blble (criticizing it as a tool for slavery in one track, and comparing it to a ball of bile in another), etc.

The stand out tracks include the droning, flipper-esque “Rat Race” where blinko shouts “are you really justified in having nothing to say?are you not aware of a feeling of humiliation?” My personal favorite is bloody jellies, a frantic, hysterical rant on impending nuclear doom where there will be “angels with burnt wings” and “no coffins, just bloody jellies.” Few tracks encapsulate the 80s nuclear dread as well as that one.

RP are actually still around, and they have put out several classic albums since their first EPs, but for my money, the EPs of RP is not only their finest work, it is an essential punk album.

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