Blurred Visions - Leeches! (self released)
Hardcore is an odd beast. Visceral energy is its stock-in-trade. All too often it paints itself into a corner and whatever it has to stay is lost in a blur of downstrokes and angry intentions. Then somebody works out that you can play with dynamics and (shock!) melodies.
Perth band Leeches! stand out because they can do both. “Blurred Visions” is compelling, surging punk rock that seethes and burns - but also surprises with its no-nonsense harmonies and skilful playing. It reminds of Massappeal’s more creative stuff or even Off! That’s no faint praise.
There are 14 songs and of course they explode out of the speakers with little subtlety and no manners. Like Black Flag at their best, Leeches! aren’t afraid to change tack or throw in a tempo change. The sliding bass line that launches “Medicine” leads to a rise-and-fall vocal line. “Property” stops and changes down. “The Cure” locks in with serious intent.
Leeches! are a trio and that’s the band format that’s most like the 400 metres race in track athletics. The pace is unrelenting and you’ll fuck up if you slacken even momentarily. It’s a tactically uncompromising race. When you’re a three-piece, you’re also fully exposed. You might have a mindset to plough on through any mistakes (let’s face it, most people don’t notice them as much as the ones making them) but any stumbles are magnified because there’s no-one else to cover them up.
Leeches! can play. Benny J Ward’s vocal attack is as intense as his guitar work. Glenny Salter on bass and the mono-named Leeroy on drums lock in adroitly. They find that sweet spot between intensity, aggression and musicality.
The lyrical themes are familiar (fuck you, don’t fuck me around etc.) but well expressed and the words are helpfully printed on the digipak inside cover. Sonically speaking, “Blurred Visions” was a home recording job but you’d never tell, Leeches! thoughtfully got local gun Dr Al Smith to do a bang-up mastering job on it.
The other thing you need to know is that the CD is ridiculously cheap at the Leeches! Bandcamp. In true punk fashion, the download is even cheaper (that’d be free.) You know what to do.