Punk – like beer, coffee and films about people in space fucking each other up with laser swords – is an uncomplicated thing. So why do so many people get it wrong? We get it, you have frills you wanna throw in, but throw in one too many and you’ve got a holy mess on your hands – or a record that no one gives a toss about.
Luckily, no one told Montreal’s Impotentie, whose punk racket is gloriously straight-ahead, beautifully ugly and a gritty pleasure to spend time with. Ok, it’s not without the aforementioned frills (more specifically, they sing in Flemish… because why not, eh?) but its charms are rooted in the fuck-you-up brutality of hardcore, the fuzzed-out vim of your garage rock faves and a direct simplicity that sounds like the gloopy chaos that comes out when you throw your turntable into a cement mixer. You know, just to see how the records sound inside churning liquid concrete.
With members of Thee Nodes and Omegas on board, you know what you’re getting yourself into here. You can taste the bitterness of service station coffee, smell the beer-soaked floors of crappy dive bars and feel the blown-out bass of rotting PAs – it’s the product of lifers who love the road and it hits home hard. Even if Demostratieve Opnamens (‘demonstrative recordings’) turns out to be the only document this band ever produce, it’s a bundle of energy you’ll wanna drape all over yourself time and again.
Spoiler - Zang
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"It's the sound of a greyly lit kitchen in some nothing town with pitched roofs and gables, the smell of stale cigars and vinegar and the taste of meat in a tube on moist bread with watery coffee"
Our take: It’s not often that I listen to a new band and think “what the hell IS this?,” and far less often when said puzzling band is identifiably punk. Montreal’s Impotentie is, indeed, identifiably punk, but it’s punk like nothing I’ve ever really heard before. There are elements of things I know: the claustrophobic, straight-into-the-board guitar sound recalls obscure KBD and euro-punk (particularly when the lead overdubs come in super loud), the singer is somewhere between a hardcore barker and the intimidating shouts of Metal Urbain or the Screamers, and some parts sound like a band playing extremely loose and slightly out of tune Warsaw covers. However, it all adds up to something that is utterly singular. Maybe this is what early Zounds would have sounded like if they did acid all of the time? Really, I think Jonah Falco’s description says it all: “It's the sound of a greyly lit kitchen in some nothing town with pitched roofs and gables, the smell of stale cigars and vinegar and the taste of meat in a tube on moist bread with watery coffee.” More than recalling any particular era of punk, Impotentie capture a real vibe here, and it’s bleak and dour, but with moments that are distinctly beautiful. A very special record that I recommend highly to anyone who values originality in their punk.