2002 – Permanent Records
Alternative/ Grunge/ Rock/ Punk
Five tracks, wild energy, bad vocals, terrible production values. This little EP has everything you want when you’re looking for something opposed to everything the pop well tells you makes a good album. Kicking off with Loose one can instantly hear the low-fi aesthetic at work on this release. The guitars are a wall of fuzz with the occasional melodic moment, the drums pound and crash with more though towards loudness than accuracy, and the vocals are barely audible as they wail through their simple progressions.
Things do get somewhat cleaned up by the time we hit track two, but still there’s a omnipresent sense of grunginess that won’t go away, and you just don’t want it to. I Wanna Rock is really just a pop song… played very badly and with lyrics that make you cringe, but that is exactly where the charm of this EP lies. It’s approximation and DIY feel are wonderfully powerful in how much they don’t give a fuck. It has the same appeal as they early recordings by The Ramones, when they still hadn’t work out that they weren’t just playing bubble-gum sixties pop, but what The Kt26ers have over The Ramones is that their lyrical talents make it abundantly clear that these boys know exactly what they’re doing.
There is some kind of postmodern pastiche at work here in the way the band shamelessly rip off The Pixies and Nirvana, but there is also a dumb innocence in the way the vocalist jumps between a forced whine and rage-filled screech. And it is in this juxtaposition of well honed intellectualism and dumb-punk nonsense that makes this record … well, jusy so much darned fun. It’s the perfect thing to thrown into the player, turn up as loud as is humanly possible and just jump around drumming on whatever you find with whatever else you find. It’s no piece of musical or poetic genius, and it certainly does break any established musical moulds (it comes a bit late to really fit into to grunge revolution of the late eighties), but that really doesn’t matter. They do grunge loud and fast, and they do it well.
Like many EPs that I have a profound fondness for, however, I must say that five tracks is far too short to really get a good feel for what the group can do. There’s nothing even approaching a slow song on this release, and, while that’s not necessarily a bad thing as I don’t think they’re quite up to the challenge, it would have been nice to hear the full extent of their musical range. I mean, thrashing out a couple of tracks is brilliant, but it doesn’t really give me any kind of insight into what the band is all about. This is, of course, not helped at all by the fact that I can barely make out any of the lyrics.
Overall, however, I’ve got to say that this self-titled release is one of the most exciting records I’ve heard come out of Brisbane from that period. Yes, there have been more exciting things before and since, but in the early 2000s not a lot seemed to be happening that was this unselfconsciously energetic. It is for this reason that I highly recommend attempting to get your hands on a copy. I imagine it’s going to be pretty difficult, as it was the only thing the band ever put on CD before disbanding in 2004 and I have a feeling that it didn’t make it very far outside of the home town, but nevertheless, if you can find a copy, hold tightly onto it. I promise, it won’t disappoint.
And here’s one of the great tracks from the EP, I Wanna Rock.