Thursday, October 21, 2021

Politically Charged And Poignantly On The Nose – 9 O’Clock Nasty Return With Fifth EP

It feels like, in the past 18 months, the insidious nature of politics has become so intertwined with our everyday lives; that we hardly notice any event without it being cast through the spectrum of our own political consciousness. In a world ravaged by a pandemic and a country battling its way through the idiosyncrasies of the largest trading bloc the world has ever seen, things seem particularly bleak. 9 O’clock Nasty would almost certainly agree.

Hailing from Leicester, and with four EP’s already to their name, the band are back with their fifth release ‘Cut’, and it’s almost certainly their best to date. 

Kicking off with what can best be described as a classic surf riff, if you happened to be catching waves in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, ‘Dead Planet’ is a strong and charged start. Distorted, menacing lyrics only add to the hellish nature of the track, as the band warn us there’s “Nothing to eat, nothing to drink on a dead planet”.  

Yet, as often with 9 O’clock Nasty, nothing is as simple as it may seem on the surface. The track is not only a commentary of the impending doom as the climate crisis hurtles towards us, but it also points to the self-destructive nature of the human race on a more personal level. Whether it be through the loss of self-control or one’s own ability to damage what you love, the ending is always the same, and as the band point out, it’s “Hard to convince everyone you were only joking”, especially as your world burns around you. 

Despite the frantic and tumultuous nature of ‘Dead Planet’ and its subject matter, the three-piece manage to maintain a clear sense of musicianship throughout the song, highlighted by the crisp and tight guitar solo that is at almost complete odds with the rest of the track. 

The brilliantly chaotic music continues on ‘Gravy Train’, as it commences with a rhythmic, walking bassline and shuffling drums. Whilst the playful vocal delivery of lead singer Pete Brock harks back to the glory days of Mark E Smith and The Fallthe ideas of late capitalist greed and the relentless nature of the modern working life feel far more in-tuned with 21st Century malaise. Jangly guitar solos and heavy-hitting drums only add to the feeling of anger searing through the track, as Brock reminds us we’ve “All got so much to gain” on the money-making “Gravy Train”. 

Closer ‘THX1138’ is, on the surface, another example of a band angry at the authoritarian over-reach of governments around the world, which is no surprise giving the title is a reference to the 1971 George Lucas directed cult classic of the same name. They use AC/DC inspired riffs to get the highlight of the EP off to a strong start.  

As Brock states “It’s not your place to be questioning the lesson / Just kau kau and be sure you’re acquiescing”, we see where the inspiration for the song comes from. The video to accompany ‘THX1138’ shows goose-stepping soldiers overlooked by dictators and royals, which is soundtracked perfectly by the booming drums provided by Sydd Spudd. The video, along with the movie reference, are prime examples of 9 O’clock Nasty using dark imagery and subject matters to convey their angst, yet doing so with tongues firmly in their cheeks.  

It’s easy to relate our fears of the past 18 months to the government yet, in the movie which inspired the closer of ‘Cut’, the protagonist escapes the city and heads to the surface – witnessing his first sunset. In many ways, bands such as 9 O’clock Nasty are our very own sunset. We may be hurtling towards a climate crisis and continuous economic downturns, but we can enjoy the ride as we do, and ‘Cut’ is certainly a fun ride, despite its subject matter. As Brock suggests – “It’s not your place to be questioning the lesson”, but who would want to when the lesson is as exciting as this. 

James Ogden 

Image:‘ Cut’ Official EP Cover 

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