released June 13, 2014
“PUNK IS BREAD” BY THE COOLIES Epic Sweep Limited 7” single
‘Punk is Bread’ opens with the melancholic violence of ‘God Take Me’, a song that interrupts the space between every vocal line with a guitar riff that sounds like a car colliding with a glass window, a ram raid. The guitar sound is dominant, broad and exciting and over and over again Tina exhorts:
‘God take me, God take me, I don’t care,’
her vocals distant, distorted. The speed and levity of The Coolies punk sound often recalls classic 80s post-pop like Kleenex, but here the wide scream of sound over the simple fast bass line suggests this record will be more expansive than that. And it is.
This 7 inch veers from the innocent Shaggs-like pop of a child singing over acoustic guitar (‘Dolly Fish’) to the straightforward lyricism of ‘Mothers in Mantis,’ a classic pop song with arpeggiated guitar (though it does open with a few seconds of Beefheart-esque atonal plunking), to ‘The City’, which features chip- munk vocals screaming, shouting, over random drumming and a keyboard:
‘You can’t make it to the city! You ain’t gonna make it!’
The slow, grungy bass line of ‘Sucking’ underpins a sound as dark as that of Earth. A distant guitar floats behind a voice that sounds like it’s coming through an airport PA. Guitar and voice swirl around us, gar- bled, as if under water.
Then there’s the title track, ‘Punk is Bread’. It entirely drops the punk beat for the endless industrial shriek of a guitar over wild and implausible drumming, a sound more reminiscent of The Skeptics than Bikini Kill, the band name that’s often lazily dropped into reviews of The Coolies music. The single note guitar scream/solo is, though, the essence of punk – this is an experiment, it’s industrial, but it’s simple and it rejects decadence at the same time as it rejects cliché. It is punk. Punk’s not dead, it’s bread.
– By Maryann Savage
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