RATS EAT RATS/ CAMCORDER/ WOLFS/ COMPULSORY PRIMAL RESPONSE, Twoface Promotions, Wheatsheaf, 7/1/17
Imagine if Rob Newman hadn’t gone away and quietly become an erudite political activist, but had instead followed the “comedy is the new rock ‘n’ roll” ethos to its logical conclusion by living off speedballs and sandwiches for the past 20 years, and you’ve imagined Compulsory Primal Response’s drummer. With a song called “Fuck The Government” and a song called “Dave’s Gone For A Piss”, this scrappy punk trio’s watches permanently read half-past-give-a-shit, and their joyfully inept set could have come from absolutely any year since 1978: History Today.
“We are Wolf, I mean Wolves, I mean Wolfs”, proof that Google-friendly band names can seem less clever when you have to pronounce them onstage (at least Wolfs has got some bloody vowels). Dubious plurals aside, they’re a fresh, crisp drums/guitar duo, with a strong melodic sense and some lithe sprightly tunes, which nod towards the smiley scuzz of Smudge and early Lemonheads, but they’re at their best with straight-up rockers like the LA slum glam of “Mirror” and dumbass Kiss pastiche “We Came Here To Rock”. If this promising young band can relax and be a little less studied, they could raise some roof, we mean rooves, we mean roofs.
There’s a marked increase in polish and experience with Woking’s Camcorder, songs suddenly sounding rehearsed, arranged and generally nurtured, their set a tidy parade of crunchy distortion and chunky choruses, as if The Foo Fighters were signed to Fat Wreck Chords. We’ll confess we get a little bored half way through, but they get a deservedly appreciative reception.
Nothing like Rats Eat Rats’ reception, though; it’s not often we see a sizable, bouncing crowd chanting a band’s name at their first gig. It takes more than a claque of beery mates to make a debut, of course, and Rats Eat Rats prove to be pretty great, taking the self-conscious, awkwardly euphoric end of early grunge, and ladling out a brackish stew of Bleach and Gish. There’s the odd rhythmic sloppiness, and the two guitars can muddy the sound, but there’s a wired attractive insouciance about the band (especially the vocalist, who looks like Julian Rhind-Tutt reliving Thom Yorke’s earliest press shots), and we expect them to be local favourites before 2017’s out.