Wasty Tasty - Swhat (Heart of The Rat Records)
Swhat is another one of those bands that subscribes to that simple formula. It’s one from the mid-‘70s UK and (paraphrased) it goes like this: “Here’s one chord. Here’s another. Here’s one more. Now go form your own band.”
Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. We all need a fix of bracing, ear-clearing punk in our musical lives. It clears the head, channels the thoughts and wipes away memories of accidental exposure to mundane pap like Beyonce and untenable excrement like the Idol TV franchise.
There’s nothing innovative or surprising about “Wasty Tasty” - unless you’re mildly shocked by the band members being aged under 30 and coming from a rural Australian city, Ballarat. Both are heartening signs. Some good things have come out of Ballarat - like Yard Apes and music publicist extraordinaire, Lou Ridsdale. But I digress.
“Wasty Tasty” is 13 songs of urgent, stop-start energy. Punk at its most pure, played by a trio. It sounds a bit like Minutemen without the fancy pants rhythmic shifts, or Mach Pelican if they'd been one further step removed from their original influences. And you know who THEY were…
(Answer: The Ramones. Everyone gets hung up on the Ramones. I fucking LOVE the Ramones, But all you bands can’t BE the Ramones. Somebody’s been them already.)
Swhat don’t play Ramones songs. At least not on this album. It doesn’t look like there were any on their EP that preceded it, either. These are fast and simple songs with lyrics full of sardonic humour In Swhat’s own words: ”…they’re “modern dystopian landscapes, prefab suburbs, giant Giger like greasy fingers and san choy bow for tea”.
Post-modern commentary to one side, there are melodies and sharp hooks - and very few songs that top two-minutes in length. An ideal combination, really, when we’re all going to Hell in a hand-basket on an eight-lane motorway and don’t have time to fuck around looking for change to pay the toll.
With song titles like “Cookie Cutter Suburbia”, “Hang Onto Your Thoughts” and “TV Coliseum” you know you’re in for a dose of social commentary but it’s not preachy or nagging, plus Swhat don’t mind lapsing into bad taste.
Punks after your own heart.