Asylums release their third album on Cool Thing Records, 17th July 2020
‘Genetic Cabaret’, the coming of rage lucky-number album release from Asylums, swaggers open with intent. ‘Catalogue Kids’ is the sound of a blockbuster movie’s rock’n’roll band arriving on a stage – with pyrotechnics.
As a body of (smart and hard) work, it jump starts an adventure that doesn’t run out of sparks.
Asylums display the confidence to tug heart strings with the striking melodies and harmonised licks of ‘Platitudes’ weaving like bumblebee flight in and out of car-chase rhythmic bang bang bursts. While noting, relevantly; “Is this the loneliest place in the world? / There’s a plague going around.”
Get ready for these songs to live in both your head and in your stomach’s butterflies. Complexity executed to the simplicity of catchy songs that reveal woven layers with each listen.
Asylums are musicians herding-kittens of sound into a bonded rock band experiment. Lyrically reflecting serious times in a seriously enjoyable way. Immersed in audiovisual concepts and exhibitive collaboration, this is punk as creative purity.
‘Genetic Cabaret’ elevates their spacepunk distort to a wider vision of appealing, classic proportions.
By ‘A Perfect Life In A Perfect World’ it’s obvious this might be the band’s most sprawlingly ambitious album to date. It wouldn’t be out of place in either a sweaty grassroots music bar or an arena.
Each (relateably titled) track is a ponderous facet of a musical diamond that balances the rough with the polished, as per the epic ‘A Town Full Of Boarded Up Windows’. It conjures up bleak urban visions; but also a sea of raised arms, euphorically swaying in time – and works just as well in isolation.
At the end of 2019 Asylums were in Chicago making this album with Steve Albini at the iconic Electrical Audio Studios. It is even more a reflection of 2020 than anybody could have imagined.
‘Clean Money’ sounds divinely dirty as menacing heavy riffs bolster a heartfelt, gorgeous melody hinged with subliminal tones of disillusioned drama. My only criticism is that these supersized songs make me scream inside to get outside and shout along.
“If you’re hanging on like a cockroach in a storm / Watching dirty people clean money’ then Asylums are the band for you. For now, if I want to go out, I’ll go out of my mind slightly, jumping around joyously to grand music.
We’re talking heroic street preaching by the next song; ‘Who Writes Tomorrow’s Headlines?’ a hardpop poem with sustained guitar waves and building dynamics, clawing their way to another heart hooking TUNE (that empathetically appears to know what’s going on in our alternately raging, weeping and cackling heads)
Head banging psychedelic disco? ‘The Distance Between’ is guitar-pistolled, bass-bullets drum rage emitting deeply menaced vibrations from whatever “the new normality” is meant to be.
…leading perfectly, like a Broadway musical, into ‘The Miracle Age’, delicate articulation that (I kid you not) would work in a theatre as a lights down, spotlit big number. It’s a tempo intermission of moonlit lullaby pulling back velvet curtains to crescendo.
With this entire LP, multiple song variations are happening simultaneously without sounding disconnected from the central harmony. It’s not a cacophony of ideas for the kitchen sink’s sake. Rather a series of select schemes used with discretion.
Every tune is a degree of emotion, a tangent of what comes from being a tight knit collective who are coming into their own, organically, on their own unique terms.
‘Adrenaline Culture’ is a major interplanetary Asylums-seeking blast. It is a strong thread to their first two albums in style, with flickering light bulb rhythms, songbird-on-acid guitar howls and soaring, scoring roaring anthem singing out, knowingly; “Liberty is something you’re not supposed to see”.
The car chase jump and shout along of ‘Yuppie Germs’ rockabilly-rap rushes cutting shape moves like a mad scientists rebellion, frantically running hip gentrification zombies out of town.
‘Genetic Cabaret’ is a speakeasy’s theme that arrives regally with gravity. It marches and tangoes in turn. The song pleads urgency in tone, over driving, chimed psychedelics. Fittingly, it is the title track of a multi mood bombardment of seat-belt worthy moments that dip into dark dystopian corners but rise like we all have to, above above it all. To shine.
Haunting and empathetic. ‘Dull Days’ eases us back into lockdown life with gentle beauty. Maybe this is global life for the next few years for all we know? This song and this album will come to mean more, whatever happens next.
Our current age of overwhelming upheaval demands higher calibre escapist stimulation. With no gigs to communicate them live, songs have to stand up on their own merit. 2020 is already gifting the best 21st century musical decade for for up coming brilliance and future heritage hope.
Asylums are in that vanguard with this exemplary release. A heavyweight collection of audio flexing, it’s a compassionate addition to the personal tales of any music lover whose skin ‘Genetic Cabaret’ gets under.
Composition, performance, production and stratospheric layers of sound take the “AsylumsRock” genre next level with an opulence of psychophonic ideas. No wide ranging vocals were harmed during the making of this multi storey song park.
The kids don’t seem alright, but Asylums do. Enjoy. Then enjoy again… A cathartic dozen tune ride.
TheZineUK Events Dept. Love Pirate at Rocklands Artbeat / RocklandsTV. PR stands for Punk Rebel. Mad Old Bat (Deluxe) or Vintage Rock Chick? You decide.