With a band named Bruise Control, you should expect some forensic oomph and punch. And you get it. Loud, controlled, tight and thoughtful, they set a high bar in the crowed Garage-Punk scene with their debut album Useless For Something.
These are 9 tracks of charged lyrics, unleashed emotion and a dollop of reflection – there’s enough here to keep you nourished. Lyrically, the band’s staunch working-class roots give rise to an honest and unforced form of anger that manifests in songs like Taxman, Never Again and HMRC.
Bruise Control are Jim Taylor on vocals. Niall Griffin (guitar, bass and backing vocals), Tommy Morris (drums and backing vocals), and Devon Cryer on guitar.
The album opens with the ratatta of guitar with razor-sharp drums of Useless. Amidst the energy is a measured control and a warmth. The middle riff of strong simplicity cuts in and builds up again to add more power. Short, sharp.and reassuringly shocked, so it begins. And so it continues.
Bottom Feeder rolls in with the rumble of drums and the build of guitars that grows increasing hectic. That gets even more when the vocals start, making it harsher and more insistent.
Any song called Taxman is not going to be full of love. But wrapped in the anger, there is a story that emerges as it boulders through the red end of emotions, and becomes anthemic. The angular guitar start of Dead On Arrival points to a fractured world. The dislocation draws you in, and is joined by hard-edged harmonies. The music interlude gives edge and intensity.
Imagine the discomfort of being hit by a ton of brown envelopes. Now double it. There’s a relentless big beat to HMRC. With a blessed relief of a big bass line for a breather in the middle. This is lung squeezingly heavy, and gloriously murky. Bruise Control opens up like it’s going to be a bopper. And there’s something wholesomely yesteryear that feels tanktops on otherwise naked torsoes. This is a sweat-inducing tune that picks you up and throws in the middle of whatever it is that’s going on.
Lesley Crowther was no stranger to the-rock-and-the-roll (whoops, showing our age), and we can only expect him to be waving his welcoming arms somewhere in the ether to Come On Down. The edgy energetic tune allows itself to brew into the kind of refrain that will have every audience joining in.
Gold lame hot pants anyone? Disco Fury will get your heart racing and your feet stopping with the heavily rhythmic guitars and drums lulling you in before the big, glam finish. There’s no breathing space in Never Again. Regret combines with the sharp beats and power rhthyms. But as you would expect of Bruise Control, there’s a shift of gear – a place to wrong foot, to catch your breath and to go again.
The drums are precise, the guitars rhythmically mesmerising, sparsely tempting or attention grabbing. Jim Taylor’s vocals is far more developed than a brutal bark – there’s warmth, loss and anger alongside the brutality in that bark. Motorhead and Buzzcocks are comparisons but there’s also a sniff of Black Sabbath and a wiff of get-up-and-dance.
Useless For Something isn’t just revving the engine and going fast in a straightline, Bruise Control command attention as they caress corners at speed. This is an exhilirating debut, which is more than being immently jumpable, shoutable and sharable… but that jumping, shouting and sharing is so good.
Useless For Something by Bruise Control is out now on TNS Records
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