Scrap Brain – A Journey Into Madness (Drunken Sailor Records / Thrilling Living, 2019)

Alright then. These lot are from London and Oxford and are billed as playing an unconventional brand of hardcore punk. Colour me interested. I do love it when Julian puts out hardcore on his label, it is without exception always interesting… And these oiks seem to have named themselves for a level from a Sonic the Hedgehog game.

On this opus, we have 10 cuts, or indeed short forays into madness, nay the riotus psyche of this group. No prisoners are being taken here; this is unadulterated, blistering rage. Absolutely no fucking about necessary, required or applied. Just short, cacophonous and straight to the point blasts of saliva flecked torrents of under-produced existential angst. Or, as they put it on their bandcamp page, ‘unhappy hardcore’.

Photo credit: Helen Messenger Photography

I think that this record will no doubt piss off those that think of punk or hardcore in any of its permutations in a straightforward kind of manner. If you don’t like the idea of having your perception of what passes as punk rock challenged, then this is certainly not the record for you.

This wonderful, pummelling, feedback laden mess sonically resembles (in my mind) a hybrid of X, Denim and Leather, X-Ray Spex and The Jesus Lizard. It’s one of those listens that seems to paradoxically be a rewarding listen, yet totally exhausting at the same time. I’m sure there probably would have been a time when I’d have dismissed this as “trite arts bollocks” or something similar, but sometimes shit just pegs you square in the grid. Tony of Nurgle rating 8/10

In the UK, you can get this from Drunken Sailor Records or in the US / RoW it’s available from Thrilling Living

Scrap Brain Facebook page

Tony of Nurgle is a true child of the North, recently returned to Yorkshire and residing in Leeds (after close to a decade living in exile in Croydon and South East London). He used to co-run a specialist record store in Manchester (Roadkill Records), and also several years as a promoter, and put on shows for the likes of Leatherface, the Loved Ones, Lucero, Minus The Bear, These Arms Are Snakes, Spy vs Spy, Latterman etc. He also spent several years DJing at shady rock clubs in Manchester, and started the infamous Thursday night "punk room" at Jilly's Rockworld. Also responsible for Middle Finger Response, and collaborated with a couple of friends on a monthly night called Refuse to Lose, which will still occasionally reunite the original DJ line-up - next event at Retro in Manchester on 07/09/2019. Apart from that, it's all bitterness and a jaundiced view of human nature, occasionally skateboarding, always exhausted, often reading books with maps in the front.

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