Post Punk Has Nothing To Do With Message Boards
When punk supposedly “died” back with Sid Vicious in ’79, the punk movement branched off into 3 directions. Of course there were millions of bands that went underground and kept playing punk anyway (for example, see your neighbor’s basement). Bands like Blondie and the Talking Heads pioneered New Wave, the radio-friendly lovechild of pop and punk (long before crap like Good Charlotte forever tainted the pairing). Meanwhile, bands like Fugazi and Gang of Four shifted into Post Punk, focusing on creating art instead of attitude. And this is where the Chromatics are concerned.
Plaster Hounds retains only Adam Miller from the Chromatics’ original lineup, now joined by Nat Sahlstrom on bass. Session drummer Ron Avila brings much punk credibility coming off of such projects as Holy Molar and the almighty Final Conflict. On this record, the Chromatics offer up what you’d expect from a band playing post punk in 2004. Scratchy, noisy guitar and reverb-drenched screechy off-key vocals and yelps are loosely assembled over simple yet catchy bass lines and a mixture of live and electronic drums. Songs like “Garden” and “24/23/22/21” deliver lo-fi fuzzed-out guitar and bass driven rock typical of fellow Pacific Northwesterner’s Unwound, while less successful tracks like “Jesus” and “Monarch” plod along to a drum machine that sounds like it’s been shooting heroin.
Overall, Plaster Hounds succeeds more than fails at being a minimalist post punk exploration. Not radio-friendly or hook-driven by any means, fans of noisy rock pioneers Sonic Youth should definitely check this out. A cover of “Program” from the experimental NYC duo The Silver Apples’ 1968 debut prove that the Chromatics have at very least done their homework.