Aussies with short attention spans – at least, that’s one thought when the listener’s exposed to their frenetic dance-punk –* Damn Arms* kicked up plenty of hot fuss on their recent jaunt with Marmite rockers Test Icicles. But where the east Londoners suffer many an inconsistency when committing their compositions to public scrutiny, their tour mates’ grasp of matching melody with aggression is worthy of commendation.
‘Please Pass Me My Anti-Robotics’ buzzes and fizzes like The Faint wired into a mains supply running too rich for their antique keyboards – the vocal yelps and thundering drum beats only add to the fevered atmosphere. It’s DFA1979 subjected to alien radiation, their bodies splitting, like single cells, into a four-piece – every bit as intense, but now with a sound that’s fuller, room filling and ever-expanding. ‘I Sink, Therefore I Swam’ is just as chaotically tuneful: jagged and rough, silky and sweet, a Dime bar pressed into the shape of a seven-inch, its grooves made my shattered beer bottles. It’s completely contradictory – drums are bludgeoned but the keyboard is caressed, and the result is excellent. Not entirely original, you understand, but excellent nonetheless.
Live, Damn Arms left this writer feeling a little let down – potential was there, but the execution was too studied, not left open to the possibilities of elaboration. It was too silky, too sweet. This single, though, proves that they’ve evil enough in their songs to be a fantastic attraction on the live circuit of this or any other country they choose to embrace. Do welcome them, your damn arms open.
7Mike Diver's Score