It's Not Nothin' by Workin' Man Noise UnitRelease date: November 23, 2018
Label: Riot Season Records
Listen up you punks, Workin’ Man Noise Unit are back with a second slab of full throttle punk rock ragers to slake your thirst and make everything alright again for a half hour or so. Once again on the redoubtable Riot Season Records, rumours they were going to call this one ‘Pints’ have proven to be untrue and looking at the striking cover I suspect they changed their mind late on about making ‘Pink Roses’ the title track as well. It’s Not Nothin’ comes from the lyrics of the first number, the descriptively entitled ‘Opener’, which kicks things off with some call to arms guitar and indecipherable shouting before the drums come clattering in. From there onwards it’s non-stop hurtling towards the final track.
A first glance at the name and you might take them for squalling power electronics provocateurs but they’re a lot more fun than that. The Noise Unit are a proper high intensity, scuzz-garage-hardcore-rock ‘n’ roll band who manage to either swerve or reinvigorate the sackful of tired moves and genre clichés that description might suggest. They’re absolutely brilliant. More Mission Of Burma than Black Flag but with a more chaotic sound than either. The twin barked vocals are perhaps their clearest debt to hardcore and, combined with the fierce storm of the guitars, make it hard to decipher much of the lyrical content but they tend to focus a lot on the miserable grind of work and the joys of drinking to relieve said drudgery. It’s not high concept stuff. There’s a delirious stomp called ‘Holsten Thrills’, which is quite a funny title but perhaps gives the idea of them as more lumpen and unimaginative than they really are.
They more than live up to the noise part of their name with an abrasive guitar sound, feedback squealing through every gap, and a thick coat of distorting table top electronic grime over everything. Their secret weapon is that it isn’t just noise, there are strong songs and actual melodies trampled into the murk that drag you along. While any band of this stripe worth their salt is powered forward by a fierce drummer there’s a looseness and swing to the rhythms here that lets them slip off the hardcore straightjacket and get freeform on the dancefloor. Wayne Adams is a great choice for producer not just because he’s on a hell of a roll at the moment, but there’s an obvious kinship with his old band Death Pedals in terms of influences and approach. He makes them sound equal parts sharp and filthy.
Band anthem ‘Workin’ Man Blues’ (boy, they really love an apostrophe don’t they?) is revived from their early Drinkin’ Stella To Make Music To Drink Stella To EP and emerges louder, heavier and more undeniable than before. ‘Rathaus’ reminds me a little of Claw Marks after a gallon of extra strong lager, ‘Pink Roses’ is a brief and demented ripper. They calm down and get reflective for the final track ‘Become The Scum’ which opens with an old Irish soak waxing poetic about the charms of liquor and dials down the tempo and noise. The pub is emptying, the big lights are on and you’re slumped on the sticky table top crowded with glasses, already starting to regret the evening. It’s a nice contrast with the previous half hour of joyous noise punk recklessness. They’re amazing live, catch their handful of album launch shows if you can. You should get this record, it’s a total belter.