Contemporary punk is usually all about hyphens: ska-punk, folk-punk, gabba-punk.. Okay, the last one is probably made up. While it is great to explore the possibilities such fusions offer, it is also refreshing that Revenge of the Psychotronic Man offer something which is straight-up, no caveats: punk rock. But don’t get the idea this band are stuck in the past; on the contrary, their music is modern, creative and filled with character.
As an album, Colossal Velocity is angry and defiant, as well as wry and playful. The band successfully have their say whilst keeping a foot firmly over the line of good times ahoy, a straddling act that is surely at the heart of all great punk bands.
Be prepared for short songs, with an unrelenting pace… Or should that be colossal velocity? The average track length is 1:03 minutes (yes I worked it out) but there are 17 songs included so there is still plenty of music to enjoy. Despite the breakneck speed, the sound is never frantic, these obviously talented musicians remain tightly in control.
The rhythms are powerful and precise; a rumbling V8 at the heart of the music. There is perhaps a slight lack of melodic range owing to a vocal style that is more about the beat and the passion than conveying a tune. This is compounded slightly by the three man line-up which sometimes misses a second guitar to provide harmonies or riffs. As a result, most of the action occurs in the mid to low range and as a whole the album may have benefited from more variety in pitch.
If you can get hold of it, the physical copy of the album is highly recommended, as without its aid you are likely to miss out on some of the lyrics, which would be at your considerable loss. In fact, the album really came to life after reading the lyrics which have an admirable directness and clarity and contain some brilliant turns of phrase. How can you not enjoy such awesome lines as “people hassling for stuff, you can ram it up your chuff.”
This is taken from the track “I Am Absolutely Fuming”, an absolutely thrashed out expression of fury against the small annoyances of life. As the band concede, they should probably just chill out and have a cup of tea but we all know that seeing things in perspective can be tricky when you are pissed off.
In the very first track “To Be Frank” (a reference to the brilliant film Frank), ROTPM declare that they don’t make art for critics. Nevertheless, this critic particularly enjoyed how the song gets so much power from high-energy, back and forth vocals.
The band go on to cover a wide range of issues; from the need to support local venues, social media soap-boxing and drinking problems. On the flip side we also have songs about wanting to ride a rocketship (“NASA can pay for it”) and the speckled story of a rum loving gentleman called Malibu Phill (he has plans to fight a giraffe).
The closest the band come to a sing-along-anthem is “Not All Animals Are Satire” which just cries out for a drunken crowd’s ragged accompaniment. The best is saved for last, however, “Rrose Sélavy (To Make a Toast to Life)” is not only the best composed lyrically and musically but it also feels like a an encapsulation of the band’s philosophy and a call to action for progressives of the world. It’s a brilliant way to end a great album.
All in all Colossal Velocity is a solid entry from an impressive band and fans of blistering punk music should not hesitate to add it to their collection.