Reviews Venomous Concept Politics vs the Erection

Venomous Concept

Politics vs the Erection

People tell me all the time that they don't "get" politics. That they don't really understand them and try to avoid them whenever they come up. CNN contributors usually pan these types of people as "undecided voters," usually implying that lack of decisiveness in choosing a political candidate ahead of an election is due to them being too dumb, misinformed, or purposefully dissociated from society and the world around them. MSNBC pundits usually have less flattering things to say about whom they label in this way. The reality, as always, is much different then the pundit class will let on. When people say that politics aren't for them, what they aren't saying is that they don't care about issues or don't have an opinion on how society should operate. Checking out the political "discourse" is not something people generally do out of laziness or apathy. When someone tells you that they are checking out of politics is usually because they've been told, in numerous ways, and fashions that our democratic systems can't help them get the things they need, and that politicians don't represent their interests.

Need healthcare? Get a job. Can't get a job? Go back to school. Can't afford school? Take out a loan. Can't pay back the loan. Get a job. Too sick to work? See a doctor. Can't afford the doctor? Get health insurance. Can't afford health insurance? No healthcare for you. Try to dying, but do it quietly. What's that, can't afford to die? Get funeral insurance. It will go on like that, forever. The things you need are your own problem. Politics are for important things like pissing away millions on non-functioning military equipment and protecting corporate investments abroad. When people petition their government for assistance and the government tells them to take a hike, it's no wonder that people check out of political processes. Most people are too busy struggling to survive to be bothered with a system that would just as soon see them drop dead.

The punk band Venomous Concept may have been formed by a bunch of free-thinking punks to celebrate their love for hardcore and mischief, but that doesn't mean that their mayhem doesn't have a message. It just isn't a message that slots into the current political discourse without causing some irreparable cracks to form in its façade of legitimacy. Lead singer Kevin Sharp and guitarist Shane Embury certainly don't shy away from controversial discussions in their respective grindcore bands (Sharp in Brutal Truth and Embury in Napalm Death), and there is no reason for them to do so here either. The band's politics and positions are present here without nuance or concern for palatability. The point of their latest record, Politics Versus the Erection, maybe meant to tickle that rebellious, juvenile, and adrenaline-addicted part of your brain but that doesn't mean that it won't also make you think. Even if politics don't need to be overthought in order to be put to practice. Figure out what you need to live, work with other people to get it. Don't let others stand in your way. It's as simple as A B C U P.

As good a place any to start is Politics Versus the Erection is the pissing rage-gasm "Lemonade," which slips and slides around a well-greased piston-like beat and sprays of xanthic-tinted distortion with the energy of a black-out drunk drawl in a truck-stop bathroom. Speaking of fights, have you noticed what people are like on social media? How they tend to act like a bunch of animals sniffing the air for the scent of blood before swarming on a target like a pack of dogs? Well, "Simian Flu" is an illuminating take on the topic, set to a brain-scrambling, grind and gut-rip groove that lets no troll escape the calcifying effects of the light of truth. As ever with Venomous Concept, there are as many moments of charming strangeness on Politics Versus the Erection as there are passages of outrageous, savage force. Sharp sounds delightfully deranged gasping and heaving, as his mad-dog vocal performance slobbers all over the urgent guitar ebbs and depressive grooves of "Colossal Failure." "Dementia Degeneration" is a thrashy attack that literally sounds like its bouncing off the walls of a padded cell, while "Eliminate" sounds like the anguished cries of a man who has accidentally caught his hand in the door of a pick-up truck's gate, and is about to be dragged by the speeding vehicle onto an intrastate highway. The album ends with the title track, a Ministry-eqsue feverish, brain infection of an excursion that dissolves into an incoherent, sobbing puddle of despair.

Venomous Concept is a band that really wears… whatever they've got inside of them on their sleeve for everyone to get a gander at. In an election year, that thing they want you to notice most of all is a black and white pin on their lapel with the letters NOTA printed on it. And no, they're not talking (solely) about the band. It's the people vs the system. Your needs vs your representative's relationship with financial and industry lobbyists. Your right to work, your right to see a doctor, your right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness vs the bottom line of someone who can write your Senator a big ol' check at their next campaign rally. What you need vs the hard-on neo-liberals get from denying them to you— Politics Versus the Erection.

6.9 / 10Mick R.
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Mick is always writing about something he's heard. Possibly even something you'd like. You can read his stuff over at I Thought I Heard a Sound Blog.

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