I am not too sure where to start with this one, apart from an apology that it was posted before I actually wrote a word for it (I owe one to Motörhead as well, laptop problems). But that is not what I mean; Publicist UK is a project that is (according to the cover photo of their Facebook page) a cerebral, dark and infectious post-punk groove for fans of Breastmilk, Iceage, Nothing and Joy Division. This again is not the thing I am unsure about; the band is made up of the following people: We have Brett Bamberger (Recovation, ex East of the Wall) on bass, there is Zachary Lipez (ex Freshkills) on vocals, David Obuchowski (Goes Cube, Distant Correspondent) on guitars, and Dave Witte (Municipal Waste, Melt-Banana, ex Burnt By The Sun) on drums. It is the mention of Municipal Waste which makes me hesitate here, not that I have a problem with Municipal Waste as for what they do they are really good; but I have always found them to be a comedy/trash metal band and because of that I sometimes have trouble when members do other projects as I am not sure if that new project is another joke. I also find that post-punk is something that is easy to get wrong, but it is so simple at the same time. I have check out the few videos online as well and I am still not 100% sure if this is a true project or another joke band - either way, it is time to find out what the music is all about.
This nine track album starts with "Cowards" which starts off with the atmospheric guitar swirling in the void – the singer Zachary Lipez start to crone about everything being fine with such venom that when he says everything is fine, you know that he does not mean it. Musically it reminds me a lot of the Mission and I can also hear Joy Division in there too; but as soon as I start to listen to the song, I am wondering if it is a joke or not – which is a shame as I find it to be very entertaining, I am just wondering if everything is sincere. “Slow Dancing To This Bitter Earth” is another song that comes across like a lost track by the Mission (this is something of a familiar pattern for the whole album by the way), the music is really good and sounds would make Interpol and The National sound like music for people on a happy time, the lyrics though are not very good; in fact it sound like the teenage ideal of what a goth/post-rock band should sound like (it also sounds like a few I have heard over the years, always been an issue for me at time). It is a shame as the vocals over the music fit the song perfectly – it is the words that are weak sauce and it make a great song reduced to good. The third track “Levitate The Pentagon” is the first track I heard from this album and it is another song that has the best and worst of the band – musically the sound is fantastic and I really dig it from the quite beginning to the pounding chorus at the end, I love Mr Lipez voice (one of the best baritone I have heard since I first listened to Matt Berninger of the National), but the lyrics once again do not match the ambition of the song – taking about talking to someone in a strip club that you are going to change, stating someone is the lie that someone else believes in, it just lets down the rest of the performance for me.
“Blood Relative” is a hard number to love or hate, there is something uneasy about it and I do not mean the subject matter; but it starts off the middle section of this album with a whimper (even when the band do explode near the end with a monster riff – that bit is really cool), which is not what the previous songs have done. Even if I find the subject matter to be lacking and I am worried if it is a joke or not, I have been able to find something in the number that makes the song interesting; this is the first song that does not grab me, it is not awful by any means (see Disturbed for that) but it is not as strong as the opening three songs either. “I Wish You Never Went to School” is the song that makes me most suspicious about this act; lyrically it is very mocking and I am not sure if it is towards one person or their audience, I cannot decide and musically it is the least striking song on the album. All in all, a number that does not do the album any favours. “Canary” however bring that musical spark back to the album, Messrs Bamberger, Lipez, Obuchowski & Witte make a sound that really does sound like a strong Post-Punk number and musically they have it nailed on this song. Lyrically, well I have the same concerns which have been happening on this album from “Cowards” and I really did not expect this to be any different (and was not surprised when it was not). But it is the song of the album, it has all the good parts of the band on show, it works really well as we head into the final third of the album.
“Telegraphing” does more than ape the Mission, it does a break in and entry on their sound and claims squatters rights. It will probably be played at a lot of dark wave discos and once more the band are making some fine music (whether it is a joke or not, they are sounding good – a bit like how the character played by Marc Wahlberg in The Other Guys dance and played the harp to be sarcastic). By this point, the lyrics are not even being looked at; the music is the focus and the sound of Mr Lipez is brilliant – but if I look too close at the lyrics it takes away from the song, so it is best if I just look at the music. The penultimate track is called “You Are the Stars”, it is at best a slow burner and takes a few listens to make much sense. The music is slow and dirty, the vocals are low in the mix (so that means the lyrics are hard to make out = no annoyance) and it is not until the final minute that it makes much sense at all; decent enough tune, but one of the weaker moments of the album. Ending the album is “Away” which starts with the line – You say go and suck Satan’s cock like it’s a bad thing, like its evil to be kind – it is lyrics like this which make me think it is a joke, it is things like this that distract from the music (which is well performed once again), so it is for this reason why I just focus on the sound which brings this album to an end with a slow burning performance that has been the standard of the album.
Here is the rub – joke or not, musically this album is well crafted and musically it is a world beater, all the members of the band have created a set of songs which sound incredible; lyrically even if this was not a joke, it is weak sauce. I heard better lyrics in most main stream pop song and that takes something away from the overall effect of the album. If it is a joke then it is a superbly crafted one, if it is a serious album then change the lyrics – Mr Lipez has an amazing voice and those lyrics do not do him justice be it in humour or with honest intentions. So why am I giving it a mark that is saying it is good and worth checking out? Well, the music - that music (whither it is a joke or not) is absolutely stunning for the vast majority of the album, it is just held together with the worst lyrics I have heard outside of the latest Bon Jovi album. Even if it is a joke, those words (not the voice of Zachary Lipez, he has a voice that could bury his victim in scorn) are costing the band. It might be taking the piss, it might not - but overall that music is too strong not to enjoy, even with the shitty words. Decent and depending on how you view it, could have been better.
7 out of ten - This is good and well worth a check
Top track - Canary
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