SYD.31: Start A War – EP Review
Board the Venga bus with Syd.31, the anti-fascist Electro Punks.
A self declared “Electro punk” outfit, Syd31 have those shouted, distorted vocals as pioneered by Ministry and others of their ilk (who I always thought took a cue from Killing Joke). At times they are reminiscent of early “industrial” music and techno, at others straight down the line dance music but with some angry fella shouting at all the happy clappy dancers.
On the opening track, as I thought “this may be okay”, I found myself wincing as the drumbeats were a little bit too happy hardcore/Ibiza for my liking. Kinda catchy chorus though – “start a war” shouted out, and back comes the crowd with “we want a war”.
As this 5 track CD progresses it veers away from poppy dance into more of a trance/techno sound, close to my comfort zone. “Dieter Rams Is Dead” (the man in question is an industrial designer apparently) takes me right back to Spiral Tribe who injected the world of techno with a rebel/anarchist DIY punk attitude. Maybe I can hear a Suicide, Nitzer Ebb or Skinny Puppy influence in there?
“Power!(Are you fucking angry?)” carries on in the same vein but with an added gabba influence and maybe even a little bit of a dub-step. And although it isn’t quite Gabba, it is dredging up in my mind the names Johnny Violent and DJ Skinhead from the mid-late 90s.
“Monster” would seem to be an anti domestic violence track but the music has gone a bit too pop again for my liking. “One Night” with it’s klaxon/siren and cheezy keyboard (yes, deliberately spelt with a “z” to underline the cheese) is definitely out of my comfort zone and the philistine that I am I write it off as the sound that comes out of crappy nightclubs that I avoid like the plague.
Taking a look at their Facebook page this whirlwind of different sounds becomes clear. They say: “After experiencing what makes people move and dance in the mosh pit and we declare ourselves VENGA-PUNKS: the bastard love child of extreme punk and sickly pop.Oh, and we NEVER use pre-made samples or loops in the music. All synths, drums arrangments, leads etc are made from scratch”
It’s good that people with an avowedly anti-fascist stance (“Fetishism NOT Fascism!!”) are in this scene, especially given that at times the Gabba scene was heavily inflitrated by the far right and on the rare occasion I have experienced the sort of club night this would go down well at, I have had to question if the bloke in the gestapo uniform is wearing it for a joke (member of the royal family, then), an actual nazi or into shock and fetishism. People who are into “Alternative Elecronics” will love this. It’s just not for me.