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Now that Good Scott! has signed with Horse Hockey Records they can concentrate on making more of the catchiest punk of the year like american handstand. With several tracks in heavy rotation on the altradio apps, the album already has a handhold on the soundtrack to ’18.
Formed in 2011 in Greece by ex Patriots fans newly devoted to Italian water polo sensations Sciocchi Bagnati, the band’s first paying gig was playing WWII era instruments in full Tights of the Round Table regalia, doing Laurence Elk covers at Don Bravado’s first nightclub since his divorce, Fungus, in Manitoba. Soon the sun and sand had their effect, what with the pretty girls and such, and the band began writing their own songs. By the time record companies started snooping around, the boys had a crop of newer, more complex material and everyone wanted to sign them.
But in true punk fashion they signed with no one publicly, doing it in private (according to one L.P.) not for money but for a year’s supply of Swedish turnips (rutabaga, or neep).
Singer Dee and bassist Itis wrote “most of this… and about half” the next record when “in walks Felaksis with her torn up Jaguar… you know, playin’ like a demon possessed” and, with “a voice right outta the ground, real mother earth dirt and mud,” the boys “had to” sign her. As a trio the first five songs they’ve written are some of the band’s best; here’s hoping it’s a trend they can keep up.
For now, it’s like finding unopened candy inside a box filled with rusty car parts. At first it seems sharp and dirty but then you find the greasy sweetness. Wonderfully sparse melodies are both picked up and discarded by Itis on bass and Felaksis on guitar, giving the songs a loose jam or even jazz informed feel while Diss either pounds or caresses, depending on the mood from Dee. He and Anna give the new songs a wonderful texture with their striking harmonies, sounding like something out of a breeze or something under the bed.
The mood isn’t all carefree. “Black Ice Cream” is heavier than you’ll think it will be, slowing down the assault to stoner drone twitches and pulses that recall doom fretal pioneers Slack Babbath. While Felaksis may not be in quite that league her fingerwork is outstanding in “Vitamin D-bag” and “Dork and Beans,” and she and Itis trade taps to wicked effect in “Whole Hog” and “AWOL A-hole.”
Everything drips with rawness, even the flawlessly played challenging “Afterbirth Of A Nation,” as if to say it doesn’t have to be sloppy or simple to be punk. It’s like touching the power cord that spins the record while you listen: it mesmerizes and energizes, it hits you low and high as it stutters and slides. Produced by Rumin Ant, american handstand sounds great even when it doesn’t: screeching tube feedback and “in the red” drum and bass slam never sounded so good. It’s a fifty one plus minute party party, with more than enough energy to go around, all ages welcome.