Alternative music reviews

December 5, 2005

Zoo Politics by Pink Punk

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“Bleed for me at least, buy that T-Shirt for me at least or can I not compete with Ozzy’s monkey children?” – so goes the main hook on ‘Thrill Or Be Killed’ by former One Minute Silence frontman Yap’s on his new project Pink Punk. Two years since the demise of the Rage Against The Machine aspiring One Minute Silence, Yap had no intention of returning to the music industry, instead creating a niche for spoken word poet on the angry and naturally political ‘Zoo Politics’ album. This disc is full of hard-hitting and stream-of-conscientious lyrics performed over producer John Hendicott’s samples and beats, sometimes amusing, other times stark and adamant. Completed by backing vocalist Donna Williams, Pink Punk are an intriguing prospect as if Michael Moore’s books and films have been put to music. Take ‘Yapolitical’ for example, one of the most prominent tracks (and I say tracks, and not songs) on this album, harnessing youth anger at governments, war, pop culture and all the topics covered in counter-culture literature that many twenty-something’s feels strongly about. The band aim to shake up the establishment, raising awareness in the youth audience it hopes to connect with, the lyrics being the focal point, as third track ‘Controversy’ so bluntly puts it – “twinkle twinkle little fucking star simple, how else do you want it?”. To compliment Yap’s distinctively Irish accented spoken word vocals, Hendicott layers subtle electronic landscapes underneath, full of little piano lines, mid-tempo beats and synth strings to keep my attention.

The first half of the album is the strongest, ‘Cockmonsters’ is especially stellar in delivery, with some melodic singing at brief points. As ‘Zoo Politics’ unwinds, the delivery does begin to feel like a sledgehammer trying to open a walnut, drilling the point home that most things in life are bad which we certainly all know.

The little moments are what raise the album above the average political musical outbursts:

a) ‘Hope’ opens with the entertaining lyric – “Hope, fuck hope, you must be smoking the Pope’s dope” – not exactly rocket science to rhyme the word Hope with Pope and Dope, but still sears on the brain.
b) A robotic rhythmic beat unwinds as Yap repeats the phrase “Ozzy’s monkey children, hahahaha” before unleashing an effective chorus of “thrill or be killed, your 15 minutes start now” – one of the more memorable tracks ‘Thrill Or Be Killed’
c) Some heavily distorted guitars enter the mix during ‘Porn Beat’ which makes a change from the usual electro-tinkering on other tracks
d) The television bashing ‘Monkey TV’ which attacks banal TV shows, peaking with the stupid jingle “monkey TV, monkey TV, Jonathan Ross, Jonathan Ross”, which make me laugh first time I heard it.
e) Final track ‘Do The Right Thing’ which is actually a fully fledged song, yes, a melodic and brooding acoustic song with Yap singing instead of doing spoken word.

So there you have it, a decent political and current affairs disc which would make some people think about their corrupted leaders, how meaningless the cult of celebrity has become and other such delights of the modern world. Angst-ridden youth intent on finding a suitable soundtrack to their strong and bitter feelings as they find their feet in this cruel and unfair world will find ‘Zoo Politics’ a close-to-the-knuckle companion piece.

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Review by Nick Collings

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