By: Eric G.
This is no ordinary punk rock: Guyana Punch Line is just as much concept as content, using blatant, in your face hard core as a platform for its biting social commentary. The band slays with an abrasive onslaught of melodic guitars that transform into a brutal cacophony as soon as the drums kick in. At the forefront is C.S. Bickel with his guttural vocal attack, where the lyrics pack as much punch as the tone of his voice. Mixing music with politics is almost always a difficult line to straddle, but this band is so passionate in its delivery that the message hits home without sounding preachy or cliched.
This record extols the virtues of Smashism- a slightly tongue in cheek theory that purports to smash down corporate fascism, commercial crassism, and PC passifism (sic), or, in essence: “thou shalt not be controlled by that which may be smashed.” Guyana Punch Line has something to sing about besides being ‘punk’ and losing girlfriends unlike so many other nameless, faceless punk bands these days, and it uses a searing guitar/bass interplay that cuts right through your speakers to translate it to you.
From the splayed harmonics that open “Something About Smashism” it’s clear that the walls are about to come down, and they do with a thrashing ferociousness: “Never mind the laws we’re smashing them down/never mind them all we’re smashing them down.” The music is relentless in its almost tribal assault, particularly in “Crummy Life”: “Shadows fall over fragments of light/pieces of what you once called your life/did nothing right/did nothing right.” Ironically, the most accessible song is also the angriest- “Rip Your Heart Out” vents extreme rage in an almost childlike nursery rhyme: “I’m so fed up gonna rip your heart out and nail it to the wall.”
Guyana Punch Line’s uncompromising sound may be off-putting for the uninitiated, but underneath the caustic veneer is much substance and feeling. Maximum Smashism is a blistering debut.