Obscured By Pink Clouds
By: Eric G.
With an equal parts mix of experimental British punk (Crass, Gang Of Four) and Chicago noise rock (Jesus Lizard, The Necros), The 1985 returns with its second album of schizophrenic no-wave. Divided into two parts, Obscured By Pink Clouds is an aggressive assault on the ears with the first half consisting mainly of frenzied punk and the second half delving into the more avant guard aspects of noise and electronics. The vocals are half-shrieked and half-whined when present at all. The guitar riffs follow in the Big Black tradition of shrill, staccato bursts of fury.
The irony is masked by a blatant disregard for convention. The band eschews publicity and rarely gives interviews. The lyrics are maniacal and random as evidenced in such songs as “Designated Dancer” and “Gettin’ Paid, Gettin’ Laid.” There are definite similarities to MX-80 and early Public Image Limited, but the references are loose. The band has even been compared to Blur, which is most puzzling, but regardless of the band’s influences, The 1985 ferociously attacks each song like its the last one it will ever play. That kind of energy has to translate into an amazing live show.
With no party line to tow and no boundaries on its sound, The 1985 revels in the furious racket it creates. “Shooting Blanks” is an eight-minute cacophony of splayed guitar licks and distorted percussion, all of which is overdriven and piercing. The unpredictable false stops reveal the band’s contempt for traditional song structure. Obscured By Pink Clouds is an undeniably difficult record to digest, but it’s encouraging to know that there are still bands out there that want to turn your idea of what good music is on its head.