|The Smears - 'Dirty Protest' (Headcheck Music Group)|
|Written by Ben Hughes|
|Tuesday, 15 May 2012 04:00|
"Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to welcome you to my freak show," is the opening line from the second long player by Nottingham all girl punk rockers The Smears.
With Singer Maimee V welcoming the listener to her world like a punk rock ringmaster (or should that read ringmistress?), it's easy to be drawn straight in. Forget Paramore or any other pop/punk pretenders this is the real deal folks; with Maimee V hollering the vocals out with genuine gusto from the off on 'Freak Show' I know we are definitely in for a treat. With a chanting cheerleader-like refrain mid song before breaking back into the main hook, it's a killer opener for sure, and sets the scene for the rest of the album.
What proceeds from the speakers is nine songs in around 20 minutes, played fast and furious. The Smears don't fuck about, there are no slow songs, no ballads or songs with atmospheric textures, this is brutal punk rock all the way. Guitar, bass and drums played by three feisty ladies who are here to rip a new hole in your personal atmosphere.
Songs such as the fast and furious 'Prowling Hyenas' and 'Scrape Patrol' are sneered and spat out with more aggro than Courtney Love and her Hole could ever dream of these days. 'Rise of the Liars' nods its ugly head in the direction of vintage Pistols and new wave, and with the dirty old Stooges sounding riffs in 'Halloween' there's some filth & fury going on there for sure.
'Horribly Wrong' mixes the three chord simplicity of Ramones with the grungy fire of L7, shouty gang backing vocals are a nice touch that just add to the Riot Grrl vibes going on throughout this album.
'Handcuffs & Powder Puffs' closes the album in fine form and its all over seemingly as soon as it began. That's the nice thing about a short and sweet album like this, what's to do when it finishes? Well the best thing is to just press play again, innit?
There is a repetitive simplicity to their songs that I like, mixed with the dirty riffs and a heavy smattering of attitude they take a grungy trip down memory lane to 1977. Quite fitting really as we reach the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations that another band should come around with their own dirty protest, and while they may not have the impact that the Sex Pistols had on the world, or the same agenda even, they are still a force to be reckoned with. There is something very honest about this band; they play it like they mean it, don't follow any trends or bow to any industry pressure. These girls set a new standard for punk rock, whether played by guys or girls it doesn't matter. There is no 'pop' in the music of The Smears, it's not commercial and it won't get played on prime time radio, and I damn well hope that the attitude and energy they capture here translates in their live shows because if it does, then that's where they will make their fans.
In my interview last year with the band I said The Smears could well be the girls to fill the L7 shaped hole in the rock 'n' roll world and, on the strengths of 'Dirty Protest', I stand by this claim. They promised dirtier songs on this album and they sure kept their word. Their 2009 debut was originally released on 10" pink vinyl, I think they should follow that up with a release of 'Dirty Protest' on brown vinyl, possibly with a scratch and sniff cover...any takers?
To pick up your copy of 'Dirty Protest [Explicit]' - CLICK HERE