Track Of The Day: The C33s – ‘Harpurhey Hostility’

Surf-rock doesn’t always need a beach. For Manchester three-piece, The C33s, the genre that grew out of the Californian coastline is perfectly suitable for their rattling takes on contemporary life. In latest single ‘Harpurhey Hostility’, turning their collective eye on the area of their home town named “the worst place in England” in a 2007 headline by the Manchester Evening News. Throwing the genre’s snappy guitar lines in with a blast of Anglo punk lyricism gives the band’s observations on deep-seated urban decay all the power it needs to be stuck in your head for weeks.

Dogs bark, a siren wails and a dirt bike engine revs – as introductions go, this one’s about as uncompromising as the song that follows. There’s no gentle lead-in for ‘Harpurhey Hostility’; it’s straight into the riffs, slamming into top gear, replete with a few quintessentially surf yelps courtesy of drummer Judy Jones, who takes lead vocals here.  There’s no verse-chorus-verse either: just twelve lines sung either side of an instrumental section. That being said, there’s an appeal to the sparseness of the lines – reflecting the setting of the song, and its video – and the mentions of local politician and Harpurhey councillor Patrick Karney and “wasps instead of worker bees” are a fond ribbing of Mancunian sensibilities. Pleasantly raw as it develops, the track reveals it owes as much to garage as it does to surf, with kicking bass and blamming drums that only lull slightly to allow for a trigger-finger lead guitar solo, before kicking back in for the song’s final twenty seconds. And, after the music echoes out, it closes out with a magnificent vocal snarl – what else?

The accompanying video opens with a quote from one-time Harpurhey resident, and literary explorer of society’s disenfranchised, Anthony Burgess: “It is as inhuman to be totally good as it is to be totally evil”. It’s a fitting choice – a defiant and seemingly contrarian statement about human nature under pressure, much like the track that follows it. The narrative of the video features three Harpurhey residents, and their activities, culminating in a lager and crisps-fuelled revel. That too, seems a conscious choice by the band (who cameo, offering a fag at a bus stop), almost as if to say that those three people could be them, or anyone, if born and raised in a hostile setting, living off their wits. Fortunately for us, Judy, Cav and Ste play music instead.

John McGovern
@etinsuburbiaego

ALBUM: Pet Crow – ‘Take The Edge Off’

Smashing through insecurities and personal ailments in refreshing garage-pop style; Derby-based band Pet Crow have returned with their second album, Take The Edge Off. Self-released in the UK on 7th Feb, it’s an apt title for a collection of songs that provide momentary relief from the everyday stresses of being an adult.

Formed of Danielle Ross, Dan Barradell, Sean Kenny, Conor Wallis, and Sophie Prosay; Pet Crow are facing up to their demons on their sophomore record. Speaking from direct experience; the band explore anxiety, depression, drug addiction, recovery, OCD, and ADHD across the ten tracks on Take The Edge Off.

The first three songs – ‘Limbo’, ‘Insomnia’ and ‘NOCD’ – fly by in a blur of fuzzy guitars, punky percussion, and moody vocals. They’re restless, cathartic laments about not being able to switch off, or switch back on when you most need to. The band channel not having a clear direction in life into well directed sounds on ‘What We Doin’, whilst the riotous ‘One Whole Summer’ is a strung out two and a half minutes about cutting loose, and the repercussions of going wild a little too often.

‘Controlling’ explores a toxic relationship, but the buoyant, surf-rock guitars distract from the darker context of the song. The same can be said for eponymous track ‘Take The Edge Off’, which does exactly that for just shy of two minutes. The band are “flitting between caring, and care free” on ‘Hostage’, and the manic instrumental mid-way through penultimate track ‘Scars’ is equally as freeing.

The joyfully named ‘Prick’ closes the record. It’s an infectious four minute take down of another toxic relationship, and the repeated line “You make me sick” will draw a wry smile across your face as you sing along to the catchy guitar riffs. Pet Crow firmly believe you can dance and sing your way through your problems, and Take The Edge Off will help you to do just the same.

Pre-order your copy of Pet Crow’s Take The Edge Off via Bandcamp
Follow Pet Crow on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut