Gross Registrable Tonnage EP - Happy Times (Swashbuckling Hobo)
These four tracks on a 7” EP are from four members of the crew of U47, a German submarine that lay frozen under ice for 60 years only to re-surface, no doubt as a result of global warming. That the crew-members sailed up the Brisbane River and were washed up in the live music pubs is a stroke of luck, because local label Swashbuckling Hobo has been able to issue their vinyl.
You might even think members may have links to the Boondall Boys, The Hymies, The Danger Men and various other Brisbane bands of ill repute. We couldn’t possibly comment. But let’s get to the business end. These four songs are scuzzy, ragged punk rock. Two guitars (courtesy of Hans Van Krankel and Nicholas von Verft) run rampant over them like propeller-less Zeppelins exposed to a naked flame. It’s not a record for the faint-hearted because, you know, war is hell.
“GRT” is a lo-fi adventure at periscope depth. The drums pound like depth charges. One song is called “Chiko Roll” and it’s a cracker. When you think about it, German submariners singing about Australia’s Favourite National Deep Fried Vegetable Food makes sense because it does resemble a depth charge in shape (and sometimes digestive impact.) “Happy Times Theme Song” grinds, pulled along by the weight of some heavy duty guitar. “Der Stier von Scapa Flow”is a muddy romp with nicely pungent guitar. “Death From Below” exits in a firestorm of space rock guitar.