I love the title of the latest album by Australia’s Eddy Current Suppression Ring: Rush to Relax. Not just because of the obvious irony, but because it so thoroughly, so accurately summarizes this band’s laid-back fast-punk sound.
Lead singer Brendan Suppression sings with a forceful squeal-yell, but he never sounds urgent. A little hurried, perhaps, but his vocals lack the self-serious rage and rancor that usually accompanies bands of this sort (think Fugazi or Black Flag). Instead, Suppression sounds like he’s kinda laughing at all of this. He sounds, well, kinda laid back.
The band has won all kinds of awards in their native land, but they’re still fairly unknown here in the U.S. That’s too bad, because this brand of punk rock is a breath of fresh air in a genre that tends to sound the same regardless of who is on the mike. Which is not to say that Suppression is the only thing worth nothing here. Punk bands aren’t known for their ability to jam, but the 6+ minute opus “Turning Out” shows a band that plays together with a single mind. On the spoken “Gentleman,” the band is led through their gyrations and swings by the offbeat-for-a-love-song lyrics (“I’ll cut you veggies if you don’t eat meat”), but guitarist Eddy Current punches it up with an expertly played, deceptively simple solo. Other songs like Second Guessing allow bassist Rob Solid and drummer Danny Current to shine, being built around a hard, driving rhythm. This is more Stooges than Iggy solo, in other words–the band doesn’t rest overmuch on its cultish lead singer–although Suppression certainly seems like he could bear the weight.