These are our Demands- The Mess we Inherited
A new beacon in the sea of post punk revival, UK group These are our Demands have a knack for marrying the angular to the textural on a debut that snaps at its leash convincingly.
Originally published for Collide Art & Culture Magazine, I am revisiting some bandcamp favourites in the light of lockdown.
Up and out of the gates with lead single ‘Hospital Radio’, it wastes no time erupting. Razor wire guitars quiver and hum, stretched taut across insistent bass, frantic but measured drums, and a voice that is tonally Morrissey – but with a whole different strain of urgency to it. Hung on a lyrical hook that is both call to arms and Freudian lament, it fairly careens along, before pausing to stretch, reshape, and insisting you fucking bop. Ascending again it snarls and foams on a jagged bass motif before sloping into the distance with an enervated rant that is both bitter and anthemic.
With this track These are our Demands set out their stall and then rip it to splinters. All in the space of one song.
The band lists Savages and Interpol among their more contemporary influences, and in this track they’ve delivered something Adore Life probably should have sounded like, while Interpol haven’t managed to conjure anything this taut since ‘Not Even Jail’ from Antics.
The album can’t quite maintain this lofty early peak, but highlights are frequent. ‘Armada’ scores points for the salty shanty in its themes.’Everything’s Dancing’ is slinky and seductive and recalls The Smiths pleasingly, with a splash of aching falsetto. These colours recur throughout the LP as a whole, lending it a thematic continuity sonically even as themes of frustration and loss tie it together lyrically – ‘Divorce’ and ‘Slow Line’ both particularly layered in something poisonously personal.
‘On a Mirrored Sea’ is a delight that comes shimmying out of their wake, instrumental and in form, it screams out for a lyric but even unadorned it is one of the albums high watermarks, leaving a tidal ring around the LP’s march home.
Influences are sleeve pinned and proud on finale ‘Brother’, as Joy Division again wrestle playfully with the Smiths and no-one is really keeping score. And when it wraps up with the sound of rain and ringing guitars I wanna spin back to the start and play it again.