Veterans of the Norwegian punk rock scene, Cockroach Clan has a rich reputation and eagerly loyal fan base but have still been pretty much a secret outside of their home borders. We are only just getting our introduction to them right now and all thanks to a certain producer, Norwegian record label Fysisk Format, and their new riotously irresistible album, Songs About Blunt Knives and Deep Love.
Formed in 1994, Cockroach Clan released debut album Roach that first year with its successor Just Say Blow! unleashed three years later with the Going Underground EP nestled in between. Equally the years have seen the band share stages with the likes of The Toy Dolls, Discharge, UK Subs, The Exploited, Cock Sparrer, Anti-Nowhere League, Vice Squad, and GBH, Cockroach Clan only drawing thick acclaim for their rousing live presence. As for their releases, all three have gained minor classic status within the Norwegian punk scene but given the chance and luck, it is very easy to see the quintet finally embraced far further afield thanks to the glorious irreverent stomp of Songs About Blunt Knives and Deep Love.
Apparently the album came about through an idea cast by producer Hugo Alvarstein (The Good the Bad and the Zugly, Raga Rockers) who told the band, “Pick some gems from your 1990s recordings and rehearse them properly. Then visit my studio and I’ll make that scrap iron shine.” That is exactly what they did, throwing in a handful of new tracks and a cover song for good measure and from the effort has emerged one of the year’s major treats.
The release opens with a cover of the Mountain Goat track, Going to Georgia. Its melodic southern drawl is soon walked through by the punk scowling of Billy Cockroach, a union which lures attention with increasing potency as the slow swing of the track infests ears. It is a great start to the album but to be honest just a healthy appetiser to the more thoroughly addictive morsels to come.
You have a Bun is next, the track almost teasing ears with its initial strum of guitars before settling into an infectious stroll already accosted by Billy’s galvanic tones. The guitars of Akke Knoff Glomstad and Simen Jeistad erupt with a grin on their strings, their craft openly sharing classic rock/metal prowess to their punk instincts. With a slither of Oi goodness to its punk ‘n’ roll, the track makes way for the rousing antics of Fantasyland. Early melodic hookery leads to contagious rioting, mischief coating every note and gravelly shod syllable as the boisterous rhythms of bassist Morten Mormone and drummer Cato Holmen pounce, the song so lively even inanimate objects share its bounce.
The immediate folkish vocal welcome of Three wishes has devilry in its deception, knowing the swift outbreak of voracious punk rock close on its heels. Nevertheless, that initial hue continues to breed a thickly alluring folk punk stomp, vocals an inescapable carousing and guitars again revelling in the skills of their holders.
If the air and exploits of the song are virulent and they are, an epidemic of temptation erupts within the following On an island and indeed its immediate successors. The track bounds in with rhythmic nostrils flared, riffs swinging their muscles as vocals roar. The keys of Hugo Alvarstein add to the incitement, the track a UK Subs-esque riot with a host of sneaky hooks and bold manipulations proving so impossible to resist.
From one of the album’s major romps to another in Crash ka-boom where punk ‘n’ roll irreverence is in full roar and hosting a galvanic vocals mix rich in its own web of hooks aligning to join those in sounds boisterously hugging their horseplay while Necktie party vigorously bobs up and down poking at its victims. Both tracks rigorously got under the skin as too the even deeper burrowing Facts on the wall where old school punk colludes with pandemic rock ‘n’ roll in a track daring you not to leap in with vocal participation and a limb swinging body.
Favourite album moment came with Gene’s got a bun too, a track originally called Barbies on Drugs on the Roach album. Its first breath brings exuberant beats, its second a groove spun hook, both irresistible and only accentuated by the tenacious sounds and rampant vocals that follow with each subsequent lungful of addiction spreading enterprise.
Dit it again with its fiery rock guitar and swinging gait gave body and pleasure another eager workout with its multi-flavoured punk romp, its successor, Believer, then springing another ridiculously persuasive and enslaving hook within its irritable prowl. Both songs just aroused the spot with the latter another which almost alone had us scurrying to acclaim the Cockroach Clan as our new punk favourite to anyone in close proximity.
Closed up by Cockroach Fandango and its anthemic croon, Songs About Blunt Knives and Deep Love is simply glorious, a release no raw edged rocker should ignore. Whether we are talking about veterans like the Cockroach Clan or fresher aged protagonists, surely punk has rarely seen more exciting days with encounters like this thick reason.
Songs About Blunt Knives and Deep Love is out now via Fysisk Format; available @ https://cockroachclan.bandcamp.com/album/songs-about-blunt-knives-and-deep-love
Pete RingMaster 17/09/2019
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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