Monday, June 21, 2004

DISCHARGE – Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing LP
Yowser! What an amazing blast of energy this album is: three chords, a couple of dodgy political slogans and some homemade cider and you’ve got Discharge at their peak. I must say, I was never much of a fan of the Brit school of spiky-haired punk. In fact, I loathed it, and still do, but for every rule there’s an exception or two, and Discharge may just be it in this case. My original distaste for the genre was kick-started as a 13 year-old when my brother came home with – and he’s going to kill me for writing this – an Exploited album. Since we were both just getting into the punk rock gravy train, you’re allowed the leeway of making a few wrong stabs in the dark. That was his first. One listen to the record (Horror Epics) and we came to a very hasty but correct conclusion: this band sucks, and therefore any band within a mile of them also sucks, thus the entire genre of early ‘80s British punk can blow me.

Skip 15 years and you’ve got an older and wiser D. Lang fawning over his Rudimentary Peni LPs (more on them some other time) and kicking it in his lounge room to the earth-shattering racket of Discharge’s first three efforts: Why?, See Nothing… and Never Again. The story of how I wound up in such a predicament is so interesting I dare not tell it; suffice to say, Discharge were a band to be reckoned with.

Their beauty lies in their absolute, near-comical minimalism. No song would use more than roughly six lines of lyrics, a hyper-speed 4/4 drum beat and three chords played a thousand miles a minute. Turn your brain off and feel the rush, baby. Like a damaged, black-&-white hybrid of Motorhead and Minor Threat, Discharge are what I refer to as purely perfunctory music: they are a band to lose your shit to. Nothing more and nothing less.

As an endnote I should add that anything they released after those first three EPs/LPs is worthless beyond comprehension, or should I say simply say “beyond comprehension”. Going the full HM route which others at the time only flirted with, they grew their hair long, lengthened the solos, slowed the pace, put the vocalist’s testicles in a vice and sang songs with titles like “Sexplosion” (a track that would shame Spinal Tap). A friend living in the UK recently saw a “reunion” show (with Conflict’s singer on vocals, no less) and summed it up as thus: 50% high comedy, 50% blistering rock ‘n’ roll. That’s the Discharge I love!

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