Express & Star

The Imbeciles, The Imbeciles - album review

There's something beautifully old-fashioned about this debut album from Americans The Imbeciles.

The cover for The Imbeciles' debut album

A spokesperson said: "Recorded on tape in eight deranged days on the Texan-Mexican border, it’s packed with stripped-down musical information and resonant with atmosphere."

They're not wrong. The analogue qualities created by the recording process are fitting for the musical anarchy taking place on each track.

See also:

Some appear to just be streams of consciousness, some mix and match ideas with varying success and others are just straight-out angsty guitar slogs befitting of these worrying times.

There are 15 songs here, but only five go past the two-minute mark in true punk fashion. It's like little snippets of howling energy firing back at you from your speakers.

As frontman Butch Dante says: "That’s the theme of this album: you’re all f****d, we’re heading for a dystopian future. But before you f*** off, you could be nicer. The music sounds angry, but it’s driven by frustration at people being vile to each other, and inequality."

And those angry undertones channel the world around us on tracks like the brilliant Decider. That stomping riff throughout which rarely deviates from its path is at the same time quite beautiful and harrowing.

It's matched by the acidic Action Motion with that strangling flick at the end of each guitar bar. It's like the song leaping up to throttle you after each musical twang.

He's A Writer is another triumph with that bubbling fervency of guitar, bass and percussion from a band who list eight members in places to continue the feeling of mystery surrounding them.

But it doesn't always flow with such ease and the disjointed tracks do their job at creating feelings of unease among listeners.

The Imbeciles Photo: Tom Sheehan

The stuttering Panic sounds just like it should with its vocals reverberating in and out of focus like a childhood monster transporting in and out of your room. Those whining guitars agitate too.

The bizarre Oh My Rod (Part II) is equally weird with its haunting instrumentals altering the pace with high frequency - and Medicine follows the same tack.

So really, they've hit the nail on the head with their mix of musical brutality and unnerving sound effects.

If they really are the harbingers of the end of the world "probably within the next 100 or 200 years" then this is the way to go about it.

Rating: 6/10

The Imbeciles were due to play Birmingham's Muthers Studio on April 17 but their UK tour has been delayed until further notice due to the COVID-19 outbreak