Syracuse hardcore nihilists bring the filth and the fury
Last year’s debut cassette EP ‘I Have Lost All Desire For Feeling’ prompted a flurry of interest in this five-strong gang of hardcore enthusiasts from Syracuse, New York. As a statement of noisy intent and underground attitude it placed them at the squealier end of Parquet Courts’ ’zine scene, and this more optimistically-titled long-player rubber-stamps its promise.
The fire and rage of opening track ‘Driver’ sets their trail blazing instantly. A wavering drone of feedback persists throughout; a rebellious attempt at melody. Meredith Graves’ vocals are all but indecipherable until a minute to the end, when she takes a breath and enunciates clearly the line about her “history of surrender,” leaving you desperate to know what the hell she’d been screeching about up until that point, to arrive there.
In the same way that Courtney Love first lured us in with her hyper-personal bedroom-confessionals, Graves does the same, but with more finesse. The distorted spoken word intro of ‘Interference Fits’, a nod to Sonic Youth, plays out like a teenage diary entry; hormonal nostalgia cloaked in exuberant riffs and obligatory feedback.
Perfect Pussy are far from being stuck in pubescent turmoil, though. This is the chaos of protest. This is the sound of giving no fucks at all. It’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it fury. The assault of ‘Bells’, underplayed by Garrett Koloski’s aggressive drumming, and the attack of ‘Dig’ lasts under two minutes. Songs collapse under the weight of their own exertion. By contrast, the five minute ‘Advance Upon The Real’ is the Perfect Pussy version of a half-hour prog wig-out.
Melodies are buried alive under a tonne of aural dirt, delivered in frequencies that hurt your organs. This is a band drawn to passion as plainly as they are a front for nihilism. Though the sweat and tears remain untraced, the blood that Graves poured into this album is visible – a limited run of the vinyl release will actually have red streaks of her menstrual matter swirled through the clear plastic. The blanket of noise is provided by her male cohorts, but the lynchpin of PP’s allure is undoubtedly Meredith, another artist key to redressing the great gender imbalance that never goes away. One day we’ll realise that ‘female-fronted’ sometimes means ‘female-driven’ and Graves is a powerful force.