Braindead need not apply
Dawn of the Braindead – The Owen Guns (Outtaspace Records)
Excuse the sneaky little Zappa-ism but does humour belong in punk music? You betcha. Australian punks The Owen Guns are prima facie evidence.
They may know them from their previous EP or from their song about Donnie Trump beinbg repeatedly pulled from YouTube. If not, here's a nice way to make their acquintance.
Hailing from Sydney and its sometimes awkward cousin city Wollongong and with roots in a bevy of old school punk bands, the four-piece Owen Guns deliver a dozen powerful and puerile tunes on their debut album on Outtspace.
If burning down churches, stomping on racist skinheads and putting the Doc Marten into Bono ain’t your things, better break out your Leonard Cohen box set, adjust your chakras and do whatever it is that’s done with patchouli.
The LP sleeve says the record has a Front Side and a Back Side which is undoubtedly intentional; let’s break that down into a Funny Half and a Hard and Fast Half. The lines aren;t that clear cut but you get the drift. There are no departures into free jazz or math rock. It’s straight-up, meat and potatoes punk rock – with some kazoo and tin whistle trimmings.
Sacred cows don’t have long lifespans on Farm Owen Guns. First to the slaughter is sanctimonious Irish frontman Paul Hewson in opening song “Not You Too”. If the introductory salvo of “Gimme a B…gimme an O…gimme an N…gimme an O” doesn’t cause you to crack a smile, have someone check your vitals. The Owen Guns can’t spell for shit but they don’t miss….in the name of love.
Vocalist Sean The Bastard is no choirboy but if he was, there’s money on him not applying to be in the employ of those cashed-up frauds at Hillsong. Certainly not after they hear “Arson About”. The Owen Guns and Pastor Brian Houston would be a “match” made in heaven. See what I did just there? If Sean’s Aussie accent was any broader he'd be Scott Cam. Now, there's some scope for a future lyric.
“The Adventures of Captain Yellowtooth In The Temple of Dumb” starts with a spoken word line: “The earth is round you fuckwit” and it’s all downhill from there. “CSMF” is a novelty song (it stands for Cock Sucking Mother Fucker) that nobody will play on commercial radio. I would because it wouldn't bhe my licence I was risking and like it.
“Pulling On The Boots (Racists Dickhead)” was a single and adapts a song from the “Romper Stomper” soundtrack. Isn't this cultural appropriation?
Of course all the above would be childish if The Owen Guns couldn’t play. “Who Stole The Water” provides they can and must be the first punk rock song about the hopelessly flawed Murrumbidgee Basin irrigation scheme.
Guitarist Mark’s precise wall of riff attack is integral to the Guns’ sound. No solos were drawn out in the making of this record. Bassist Booker gets to show his stuff on the metal and theremin-tinged zombie rant “I Only Love You For Your Brains”.
Drummer Matu is solid as a rock and shows he can apply the accelerator on the speedy closing trio of “It’s Not Too Late”, “Fuck What You Think You’ve Heard” and “It’s Not a Riot”.
We all know “Drunk Shirtless Guy” and he finally has his own song. Fuck that guy.
“Dawn of the Braindead” is one fucking fun trip with serious concerns at its heart. We can never be too critical of the stupid, even when it is their own fault..