“Weirdo Aussie punk that sounds like a Blue Heeler giving birth in the hot sun, while a Gallah eating a witchedy-grub watches on.” That’s how frontman Alex Kiers describes his band Raw Prawn. While there’s an obvious adoration for and infatuation with harsh Australian iconography, the madness of such a narrative is the perfect way to define Raw Prawn’s bizarre strain of punk, and Kiers’ facetious mode of songwriting. There’s also a dog wearing sunglasses on the cover of this record.
Featuring Anna John of Holy Balm, Kiers of Camperdown & Out and Al Haddock and Chris Nailer of Whores (and not to mention MOB), you’d struggle to find a more stylistically dissimilar group of musicians. But listen to this single and it’s not hard to hear where their influences lie. It’d be easy to compare them to bands like The Victims and Swell Maps and then conclusively say that they’re awesome because of this, but Raw Prawn’s eccentricity is far more worthy of any mere comparison, as with many other bands in Australia’s contemporary punk culture. Having formed in 2011, their prolonged Internet anonymity (with access to only one streamable song) and boisterous live show has managed to create more buzz than reams of Bandcamp demos could ever have done. It’s certainly made this debut 7 inch all the more special.
For want of a better description, Raw Prawn’s first tangible release typifies the band’s self-proclaimed ‘weirdo, yobo-punk.’ As soon as the first drum roll of ‘None Left’ fills the room, your eyes widen and your pulse races, like a deranged Pitbull chasing down a stray cat. Each song on this eight and a half-minute offering features a relatively similar duped recipe, infusing chaotic elements of ’70s murder punk with the disjointed basis of ’80s post-punk. Kiers’ irreverent singing style forces out simple, banal lyrics about running out of excuses, being in the wrong place at the wrong time and consequently “always seeming to end up in the shit”, all tied together by hooky guitars playing manic riffs. In contrast to the band’s playing style and live sound, the production on this record is relatively clean, but it’s not of any significant detriment to the songs’ sordid authenticity. All in all, it’s a pretty fun, mind-numbing spin.
Between the meme-like canine on the front cover and Kiers’ mischievous, brazen chanting, it’s clear that Raw Prawn doesn’t stand for anything too serious. It’s an amusing 7-inch by one of Australia’s more interesting bands in the DIY rock mould. It’s hard to stop listening to and simply not long enough.
Label: R.I.P. Society
Release date: January 2013