23 11 2011

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Crap Culture
G. Green
 

8 out of 10

 

Sacto four-piece serve up a delicious platter of DIY garage punk

by Jericho Cerrona
November 23, 2011


G. Green are from Sacramento, California and their latest LP, coming on the heels of some well-received 7’’s and relentless touring, is an appropriately titled bit of rambunctious DIY goodness. Imagine rummaging through a junkyard of scraps and finding a shiny new hubcap to fit that groovy 1983 Chrysler LeBaron; that’s Crap Culture, and it’s got zing and swagger to spare. The band is made up of singer/guitarist Andrew Henderson, drummer Liz Liles, along with recently added guitarist Mike Morales and bassist Simi Sohota. On the surface, their lo-fi punk meets shambolic noise is nothing new, but the record is a hell of a lot of fun and Henderson’s vocal delivery pretty unique.

At its best, Crap Culture contains moments of pure joy where bursts of guitar squall and flailing drumming clang together, all the while Henderson shouts (sometimes like a drunken madman) over blown out speaker fuzz. The one word that comes to mind here is youth. This is music made by early 20-somethings’ with a purity and brashness so rare these days, even in the bloated underground music scene. Sure, G.Green have their allegiance to the lo-fi genre, with influences ranging from 80’s garage punk forefathers The Oblivions to the work of Jay Reatard, but they manage to throw enough musical curveballs to differentiate themselves from the pack. For one thing, while much of the album is abrasive and stripped down production-wise, the songs never come off angry or cynical. Henderson’s voice is a mixture of droopy crooning and rapid-fire yelping, and it lends the tunes a real offbeat charm. Secondly, drummer Liles’ thundering grove and sporadic cymbal thrashing keeps everything suitably amped up. Rhythm guitarist Michael Feerick and lead guitarist Rod Meyer also provide excellent support, though both have since left the band. Meyer’s guitar work on the track “Pool of Blood”, for instance, is absolutely filthy; a screeching canopy of distorted chords that gives the song an urgent pulse.

Though every member adds their own unique flair to the proceedings, G.Green is ultimately Henderson’s baby, and he treats the opportunity to record a full-length as the ultimate excuse to let rip. Truthfully though, for every up-tempo punk rager like “Gay 90’s” and “Your House”, there are also unexpected diversions, such as the slow burning “Sinner Now” and the near shoegaze balladry of the title track. This kind of variation helps maintain interest, even as tracks like “Backseat” (which comes across like early At-The-Drive-In) and “Mouth on the Floor” end up sounding like more of the same. In fact, it’s the slower songs that ultimately leave the most impact. The aforementioned “Sinner Now”  just might be the album’s crowning jewel; a mid-tempo crawl of guitar feedback and humming cymbals that actually allows room for Henderson to do some proper singing. Though his delivery is an acquired taste, he shows a willingness to stretch himself vocally here that bodes well for the band’s future. On the other end of the spectrum is the frenetic “No Big Deal”, in which he screams and barks like a banshee with ADHD. The song is skuzzy and intense, similar tonally to something from Detroit noisemakers Tyvek, of whom Henderson is a self-professed fan.

Crap Culture never overstays it’s welcome. Rather than wallowing in self-indulgence (which is common in a lot of young bands with something to prove), G. Green have made a consistently engaging little stomper that clocks in at just under 30-minutes. Listening to these songs is like being at the grooviest house party before things turn into a battlefield of drunken casualties, and it’s actually one of those rare instances where one wants more once it’s all over. Certainly, there will be those who thumb their noses at what might initially sound like half-hearted vocals and disjointed musicianship, but the strength is in the details; it’s raw and fractured, sure, but most truly good music is, and Henderson is never a lazy songwriter. It takes dedication and skill to come up with hooks and melodies this good, and G.Green prove with this release that they are on the cusp of something special.

“Your House” by G. Green

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