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London-based punk band Sauna Youth release their third album under the thrilling and fatal moniker Deaths. The album is once again be released by Upset the Rhythm. The final part in a trilogy of LPs that started with Dreamlands in 2012 (wide-eyed, naive beginnings introducing listeners to the world the records inhabit), followed by Distractions three years ago (what happens while you’re heading towards a destination, the unknowns, the unexpected outcomes), the songs that comprise Deaths are collectively about the act of finishing, an ode to ‘the ending’. The 12 tracks touch on political rhetoric, artistic legacy, action and passivity, work and leisure, and, of course, distraction, referencing many musical genres in the process while never leaving punk’s orbit. Creative living becomes more gruelling and endless than the 9 to 5 on Leisure Time, how freelance living and having multiple jobs both result in no free time. Being in a band is leisure time, but can be a lot of work. Our lives should afford us with time, but we fill it with activity. No Personal Space looks at the cyclical nature of music, referencing New Rose - the first single by a British punk band - via a drumbeat and lyrics, exploring the enclosure of the genre; a blown out recording of practising constantly interrupts the band. Percentages was written at a point of political and social upheaval and problematizes the use of numbers as a form of proof. Whole groups of people have been reduced to statistics for political reasons, and people use and manipulate statistics to prove any point they want. In Flux is about whatever is opposite to creativity, what kills it dead, the communication of a song or a piece of art can kill it, even trying to see an idea through to its conclusion can be what kills it. The pure pop number Laura, according to Jonah Falco who mixed the record, sounds like “The Desperate Bicycles went to graduate school in the fields of Salisbury while being yelled at by two sides of their conscience, oddly enough, telling them the exact same thing.” Problems - a former Monotony song - reduces the punk song to its essential elements, aiming to sound like being inside a brake factory and repeating “Problems” until it has rendered the word completely meaningless. The album ends with a wild and playful rejection of patriarchy and a frustration with those who uphold it either willingly or through inaction in the form of the unhinged Theatre 83. It’s like English music hall meets We’re A Happy Family by The Ramones. Like the previous two albums, Deaths includes writing put to music. Swerve and The Patio are extracts from a short story written by band member Ecke about the murder of an artist whose estate is overseen by her ambitious sister, and is read by writer and frontperson of Marcel Wave, Maike Hale-Jones. Samples are as important as they ever were - this time including the aforementioned electrical interference, recordings of practice and YouTube videos of lawnmowers and cafe noise that people (including members of the band) listen to while working to distract their mind in order to focus. An album once finished is frozen in time, solid and no longer resistent or adaptive to outside forces. Does the difficulty to find an end come from the genre, from punk’s revisionist impulse, redoing the same thing over and over? Do we avoid an ending because playing in a band is a distraction from everyday life? The album was recorded by John Hannon of No Recording Studios in June 2017 over three days, mixed by Jonah Falco and mastered by Kris Lapke.
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