LouderThanWar reviews Bittersweet Twisted Treats
Avoiding cliches and taking punk back to its best.
As I’ve mentioned in articles before, I get a lot of punk albums to review. Some good, some bad and lots that are just, well, ok.
There’s almost a formula to them in many ways. Cranked-up Marshall-amplified, sub-metal guitars; power chords intro, chugging verse, power chord chorus; same-old-heard-it-all-before lyrics about the “system”, the government and the police; the age-old “terrace chant” bit.
To be honest, I sometimes wonder what happened to punk. I thought it was about being different. Too many punk bands are stuck in the same comfortable ghetto and not trying hard enough.
So, to the wonderfully named Viki Vortex And the Cumshots. The album has taken a couple of years for this Brighton-based Spanish group to get out but it’s definitely been worth the wait.
I know it’s not new or innovative, but Viki and chums have fashioned a punk album that’s more true to the root source than almost all of the competition. Gone are the cliché guitar sounds to be replaced by Steve Manuell’s right-back-to-basics approach.
If you remember what Times Up-era Buzzcocks and Subway Sect had as a guitar sound you’d be getting warm. Manuell avoids all of the metal embellishments so common in punk these days and goes straight for the Fender amp turned RIGHT up approach. His playing is reminiscent of the Velvets; downstrokes ago go and clanging chords. No solos, just play a bit harder in the instrumental passages, and believe me, it works.
The songs are rather well-crafted, too; memorable hooks and clever U-turns abound and with drummer Theo Theodutu linking with Vortex’s bass they’re a powerful unit.
The album is only nine songs long and few are over three minutes duration. It doesn’t overstay its welcome, that’s for sure. It is, however, one of those albums that you’ll play again and again; there’s something new each time.
The influences are easy to see; the aforementioned Buzzcocks and Subway Sect inform Plastic Fantastic. There’s a bit of Wire and some hints of ’60’s garage freak-out in Burn Today.
There’s a neat cover of Cali-punks The Muffs’ Big Mouth and another from Spanish troubadours Marlango in Twisted And Sick which VV&TCs rend limb from limb.
It’s a promising start from the band. Small but perfectly formed.
Seek it out, you won’t be disappointed.
All words by Joe Whyte. You can read more from him on LTW here.