Make noise not war! A bludgeoning attack on the senses from San Diego's leading synth-punk band.
In the current political climate it's maybe not the best career move to name your band after a Russian dictator, but your have to admit, Stalins Of Sound is an inspired choice of name. It suggests a sound that's uncompromising, hard hitting, oppressive. Music that's been made not to endear yourself to anyone but to issue some sort of year-zero manifesto, some sort of call to arms. That's a lot to live up to but to varying degrees of success, Tank Tracks does just that.
Although at times suffering from a demo-like quality (it was recorded in a bedroom so we can forgive that), this debut album does at least have an aesthetic, an intent and a purpose. Its message is to wake up and shake up, aided by aggressively programmed drum machines, distorted guitars and shrill synth lines. So from a political and aesthetic point of view it ticks some pertinent boxes. But musically is it any good? Is it a Sherman tank or more merchant bank?
Despite its rip-it-up-and-start again ethos it does have some predecessors and touchstones – the uncompromising industrial assault of Einstürzende Neubauten, Big Black metallic sheen, and Devo's subversive art-punk. Over its nine tracks, the drum machine is relentless in its pummelling, with abrasive metallic guitars, vocals that mean-it-maan and nary a pentatonic scale in sight. Whatever your definition of punk-rock, this is it.
A nice attention to detail sees this album released on the nineteenth anniversary of Shawn Nelson's tank theft and subsequent rampage through San Diego. (An event also used for the cover art). If you like your music loud, edgy, unpolished and unapologetic this one's for you.
Click here for Stalins Of Sound's website.
Click here for Slovenly Records.