The gradual, mile high dominance of Convulse Records was bound to happen. The bedrock of the Denver label’s wide reaching appeal has always been its manifold roster of acts. Appealing to the most wizened hardcore purist as it does a more genre-less zeitgeist, they’re back with yet another gem.
Their latest dazzler hails from their own backyard. Locals Public Opinion just dropped “Modern Convenience," the barnstorming title track from their forthcoming 5-song EP. Co-produced by Ian Shelton (Regional Justice Center, Militarie Gun) and Phil Odom, it’s a taut and primitivist take on swaggering punk with an equally essential video:
At first blush, I’m getting a mega dose of garage rock. Eschewing the polish and pose of the early ‘oughts NYC revival, Public Opinion instead make hay in the grimier and rollicking end of the genre. Additionally, they know their way around the early post-punk sound’s more muscled acts, à la Wire and Mission of Burma. Also present is proto stomp of The Stooges, Pere Ubu, and oft overlooked The Nerves.
Public Opinion manages to capture the “four on the floor” pressure-cooked melodies of label mates Militarie Gun (who's Ian Shelton co-produced the material). More modern analogs might be San Francisco wildies Spiritual Cramp or UK sensation Chubby and the Gang, both of whom fuck with formulas enough to spawn new and singular concoctions of the first wave punk template.
The two and a half minutes are a veritable tightrope act. The main propulsion engine for the band is the sort of ramshackle swagger oft explored in garage rock. The moment you think you’ve got them pegged, they deftly switch it up with the tightly wound energy of hardcore punk a la Ceremony circa Zoo. Precarious though that balance may be in the hands of lesser bands, public opinion will soon come to rule in their favor.
The confident boom of the otherwise economically-minded vocals calls to mind the sneer and snarl of Howlin’ Pelle of Hives fame. There’s a similar tone and electricity to the Public Opinion's performance here, dialed up considerably from their early 2021 single, “Pay No Mind.”
There are myriad moments in which the group highlights their various deft players, be it isolated bass runs or the cavernous drums, both galloping with a playful menace. The note perfect recording finds the band married to the exact aesthetics that does this monster of a band justice, this deserves to be the springboard into bigger rooms.
Lyrically, it’s an exciting mélange of cryptically nihilistic poetics, resignation, and shrouded defeatism that still manages to find an empowering bent. Defiantly modern in its approach, there’s a unique exploration of the ludic loop of online culture and extrinsic forces that command us all.
Lest you think it too heady, it’s every bit a crusher full of instant rewards and earworm-laden melodies. It’s a rollicking good time that you better act quickly to snag it via our friends at Convulse. Centennial State dominance has taken effect. Follow suit.
The Modern Convenience vinyl begins shipping on May 27th via Convulse Records (pre-order).
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Tagged: public opinion