Physique Again cassette
PHYSIQUE has been one my favourite US bands of the past five years, a statement that is not to be taken lightly since the belly of the beast has produced a lot of quality crust, noisy hardcore, and D-beat music in that time. Before PHYSIQUE, the word “physique,” in its English form, inexplicably evoked images of David Beckham’s underwear ad campaigns, so I am extremely grateful that it has now been replaced with visions of crust pants and Flying Vs. Olympia is not a town that one would traditionally associate with being mercilessly assailed by Japanese-style distorted atrocious hardcore madness, but this makes PHYSIQUE even better. Again is the band’s first real LP and it is relatively long for a dis-noise crasher oeuvre, no less than thirty minutes (as a comparison The Evolution of Combat was a twelve-minute affair), so clearly it is an ambitious undertaking. I have always liked how the band’s sound evolved through time, as the progression from Punk Life is Shit to Again is striking. On this new one, PHYSIQUE keeps working in the liminal space between the crasher hardcore crust school and the most brutal käng tsunamis. D-CLONE Frenching FRAMTID at a conference about the Tokyo Crusties EP and followed by a workshop about how to write your band’s name with the classic DOOM font. Basically. The sound on this album is devastating and almost scary: the drums sound insane, an impressive demonstration of the manic crasher style with its distinct rolls and transitions, the guitar’s distortion is al dente, the bass sounds like there is an earthquake next door, and the vocals have never sounded so desperate, agonizing, and almost unnaturally angry. They sound like a zombified bear singing along to SHITLICKERS on a night bus. PHYSIQUE shines on this, but it is the sheer relentlessness of the songwriting that is incredible, with only two delicious, DISCHARGE-loving, mid-paced scorchers to let the listener breathe and throw a few cool dance moves. Again is an articulated work behind its frightening ferocity, and the last song “Again (Reprise)” is a seven-minute-long galloping D-beat song that goes on again and again, precisely in the style that traditionally goes on again and again, just like war and misery go on again and again. The song never seems to stop even when it should, which is a pretty accurate metaphor for the world we live in. The tape is released on Iron Lung, but there will be a vinyl version soon enough. What a brutal experience.