Time for another prime dose of potent, chorus-drenched anarcho-punk from one of its finest modern exponents: A Culture Of Killing return with their third album, bigger and bolder than before with a foreboding sense of deathrock gloom dialed all the way up beyond 11. Their usual array of nods are all present and correct (The Mob, Zounds, The Cure), but this time everything feels… grander? More fully realised? Impressive, given their first two albums have been hoovered up and hailed by those in the know, but maybe we should banish any lingering doubts that the mysterious Italian band might be moving beyond merely echoing the classics and closer to creating a new benchmark for the genre.
Look, all of this is a very fancy way of saying that ACOK are pretty fucking great and no one else can touch ‘em right now when it comes to this sort of goth-tinged post-punk. New instrumentation, new ways of relating to each other as a band, new ways of grabbing your attention as a listener and making you want to press the record grooves into your brain and use your nerve endings as a stylus. From new wave-styled Burundi beats and furious call-and-response vocals to dubbed-out grooves, there are new influences that are more than welcome in the band’s sound, but the songs themselves are their finest thus far (‘2 Years’ and ‘The Last Train Home’ are simply magical). It says a lot about this LP that it’ll hold its own with the output of both Crass Records and 4AD; it’s a strong step forward that’ll win ‘em new fans and embolden existing ones to say things like ‘best band in the world right now’ and ‘sell your home to buy a copy if you have to’. Especially if you don’t technically own your home. You get the idea.
Is there a Crass-shaped hole in your life that’s been empty since you wore out your copy of ‘Penis Envy’? An itch that only the purest of peace punk can scratch? This is the record for you. I don’t use the word ‘essential’ much but… oh, well, I’ve given the game away there, haven’t I? Get it, get it now.