GOD HATES FAQs - Shrewms (Swashbuckling Hobo Records)
With a guitar sound dirtier than a mud wrestler’s crotch after a dozen championship belt rounds and 10 short, sharp songs delivered in no-nonsense and rapid succession, the debut full-length album from Brisbane punk trio Shrewms hits the Rock Action bullseye with grim accuracy.
These are high-tensile tunes delivered with lashings of gutter rock charm and despite the clever wordplay in the title, you won’t find any Westboro Baptist Church choir numbers among them. Unless the congregation has taken to gargling with paint stripper instead of fundamentalist Kool-Aid.
There’s a big family of Aussie bands playing this sort of stuff…The Vee Bees, The C-Bombs, The Onyas and The Meatbeaters are most prominent amongst them. Lockstep and loudmouth trios or quartets, they are are back-to-basics outfits that shun musical trimmings. Often very drunk. Very Australian.
They draw a common line through Yob Rock’s top dogs, Cosmic Psychos, but add their own touches and local reference points. Ultimately, however, they find shared inspiration in Lobby Loyde and the Colored Balls, who were punk before it existed.
Shrewms are the “other band” for HITS drummer Gregor Mulvey and he powers them with the same authoritative backbeat and swing, while sharing vocals with bassist Dave Logan and guitarist Julian Roberts. Their songs are clever enough (where you can make out the words) without shooting for any literary awards.
Musically speaking, the songs are winners. “Monster In My Drink” matches (Gregor’s?) straining vocal to the bottom of a bottle and neither seems too far away from reality. “I Can’t Bleed” hangs off a stuttering riff and another withering vocal. Same can be said for “Ape Revenge Attack” with its swelling chorus providing the hook.
The droll “I Spit On Your Gravy” is a Shrewms song searching for a Celibate Rifles album to be on. That’s a compliment, by the way. "Demolition Road" recalls the "Eternally Yours" Saints without horns. Yes, it is a goodie.
Recorded on valium and cheap imported beer, you’ll take to this like maggots to a week-old chop on a bin lid in thr sun or run the other way. It may not change your life but this record mnight make it a bit more real.