Earlier in the year I went to see Straightjacket play with a much-loved Australian rock and roll band. I didn’t even want to go to the show. I didn’t even want to go to the show. I was tired, high, and pissed off about lining up to see a band I thought I’d seen play the best set they were capable of at a house party a few months earlier. There were cunts everywhere, most of them stupid looking, and it didn’t seem like it was going to be fun. Long story short: it wasn’t. I copped a black eye and had to put off the job hunt for another few weeks. I found out later that the eye was fractured, and it still feels kinda fucked if I touch it now. Don’t think this is a cry for masculine adulation: it is pretty awkward admitting to a doctor as a grown adult that you willingly entered into a situation where someone headbutted you, and you didn’t care.
Wistful anecdotes aside, Straightjacket Nation have released a new record and it rips. The shit-stirring title potentially intends to take the piss out of the PC punks SJN cut their teeth playing with when they started out, or maybe it’s just snappy marketing and will sell more t-shirts as a result. Really, who gives a shit – it could be called Joshua Tree and still be one of the heaviest records of the year.
Nationalism is SJN matured but no less dangerous sounding than they were seven years ago. Despite its members moving into other, less expressively prohibitive (pissed off) areas of music, these three songs affirm that when they return to their roots no other contemporary hardcore band comes close to nailing the sound of alienation, dissatisfaction and small-town frustration as well as them.
The A-side is two songs. ‘Nice Talk’ isn’t nice. Lyrics on hardcore records usually don’t matter, but here they do. It’s an ode to displacement and not easily communicating with suits. I hear ya. A bullshit bass and drum break leads into the title track, which is easily the staunchest cut of the three. ‘Nationalism’ possesses the same kind of tension as ‘Get In The Boot’ off the LP (Cheap Kicks, 2008). Put this on in a room of youths and don’t expect the furniture to stay where it is. If it does, call their parents and let them know their children are well balanced. The b-side, ‘Child Care’, is directed at people who probably should’ve been neutered at birth, people who pawn their existing spawn off onto others while they fornicate. Opens slow, ends fast, sounds good.
Listening to Nationalism reminds me that it is okay to want to kick someone’s teeth in sometimes, and I’m fine with that. I think they have an LP coming out on No Patience later in the year.
Label: Iron Lung
Release Date: May 2012