As the issues and injustices of society and politics seem no closer to be squashed and resolved, UK punks Smiling Assassin bring a new holler to highlight and attack such corruption, suppression, and iniquity. The Yorkshire band also presents punk rock with an openly fresh breath, a trespass of punk and hardcore with a ska tinge that we for one are greedily devouring.
Hailing from Hull, Smiling Assassin formed in early 2019, its name “inspired by the collective’s experiences and frustrations around, and with the current economic and socio-political climate.” The past nine months or so has seen the band a rousing live presence breeding a potent and loyal fan base and, as their album reveals, a sound and message which demands attention.
Plight Of The Millennial opens with Prologue, where within an atmospheric uprising a vocal warning of a time of change baits the world; a call to arms for those to change it before the album’s title track unleashes ten seconds of sonic and vocal challenge.
From there Psycho-Apathy taunts the senses, riffs an immediate enticing bait as rhythms barbarously leap across the invitation. Uniting in an intensive surge, it subsequently springs a hook swinging stroll led by the potent tones of vocalist George Garnett. The tenacious beats of drummer Robbie Johnson continue to violently pound but manipulation echoed in the groove of Casey Stead’s bass and the wiry web cast by guitarist Josh Rogerson. The track is superb, an invasive yet virulently catchy and ferocious punk incitement with much more to its almost devious exploits.
Divide And Conquer quickly follows, its intrusive attack again as infectious as it is vicious. Relentless in its blitz, vocals singular and united driving the uprising, the track is a clamorous summons for action wrapped in just as an instinctively provoking sound while next up Coping, emerging from the sonic wash of its predecessor, is an equally enjoyable nagging fuelled by word and esurient rhythmic tenacity. Rogerson’s riffs and grooves escalate the temptation and drama, an intimacy entwining their enterprise echoed in the vocal holler of Garnett equally reflecting the pressures we have all dealt with in current isolation.
There was no escaping physically emulating the bounce of the ska coated News Corp. Monopoly, the track as virulent as anything around right now whilst devouring news media before National Pride unleashes its feral jaws and voracious sounds on race discrimination for another seriously rousing inducement.
Both tracks epitomise the individuality of the Smiling Assassin sound and it’s sometimes understated but always open imagination with plenty to hook ears and attention to the motivation within, With All Due Respect similarly striking and stirring. From its Vincent Price sample to the splintering beats of Johnson and the spiral of grooves and riffs to the belligerent throb of Stead’s bass as well as Garnett’s ever goading vocal strikes, the track is a cauldron of enterprise and provocation.
Completed by the panic and violent mayhem of The Aftermath, reaction to the previous incitement, Plight Of The Millennial proved one of the most thrilling and impressive things heard so far this year; Smiling Assassin a band easy to feel is destined to major attention if they demand it and with their first album they are doing just that.
Plight Of The Millennial is out now via Warren Records; available @ https://smilingassassin.bandcamp.com/releases
Pete RingMaster 02/06/2020