The Briefs – Platinum Rats (Damaged Goods, 2019)

It’s been a long time since I’d thought about The Briefs. I think probably since Steal Yer Heart dropped in 2005. I played that bastard to DEATH, mate. Seemingly, asides from the grandiosely titled documentary DVD package, The Greatest Story Ever Told (2007), they’ve er, not been up to much?

Anyway, as Steal Yer Heart had been a firm favourite of mine, I was pretty excited to check this out and find out if Seattle’s forgotten sons had managed to chalk up another pop punk / power pop classic. To be straight with you, I was initially underwhelmed by the opening couplet of Bad Vibrations and Shopping Spree, and I’m still not sold on the former, which strikes me as both an odd opening choice and a bad one.

Third cut, Nazi Disco, I always find myself skipping. Sure, anti-Nazi songs firmly have their place in punk rock, but for me, I find they need to concentrate more on message (Dead Kennedy’s oft covered Nazi Punks Fuck Off for example) or be concentrating on being hard hitting at the same time as ripping the fascistic idiots (Propagandhi’s The Only Good Fascist is a Very Dead Fascist springs to mind). The tune here is A-grade trad pop punk, but the over reliance on comedy has left me somewhat cold.

Thankfully we get a change in pace and quality as we hit She’s The Rat, which hits like a shwonky version of The Queers (but possibly doesn’t give the most complementary view of women to be frank), powering through into GMO Mosquito which kind of reminded me of stuff off the s/t Adolescents album meets the poppiest efforts of Descendents as well as nods to current scene heroes such as Masked Intruder and The Raging Nathans for example.

From this point on we are basically talking variations on that theme. We see it get changed up slightly, with cuts that recall the jagged pop of The Buzzcocks, the faux-gothic punk opera of The Damned and a veritable tick box of your favourites from the old Look Out Records roster. Check out Kids Laugh At You as a reference point.

I’ve doubtless said it before, but with this kind of fare you don’t want anyone to be reinventing the wheel, and therein lies the charm. By the same token, although it’s a pretty decent record over all, it’s not exactly setting my world on fire. Tony of Nurgle rating: 7.5/10

You can get this on limited edition clear vinyl in a mirrored sleeve direct from Damaged Goods. The album releases on 12th April 2019.

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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