Punk is typically driven by direct communication – the act of getting one’s point across in as little time as possible. It’s interesting to hear a punk song that deals with a disconnection when it comes to communication and Tyrannamen’s brilliant ‘I Can’t Read’ grapples with the issue and its inherent frustration head on. A nugget from the group’s next record on Cool Death, ‘I Can’t Read’ is a doggedly fun track that crams a tonne of melody and vibrancy into two-and-a-half minutes. Using word association: soul and punk would normally draw comparisons to Royal Headache, but the key difference between both bands using ‘I Can’t Read’ as a measuring stick is that Tyrannamen might be even rougher around the edges. With cigarette and booze tattering the lead vocals and pack-howl harmonies, ‘I Can’t Read’ is soul suffused in cheap beer to Royal Headache’s brown-liquor blues.
Back to the original point – ‘I Can’t Read’ deals with the notion of knowing something is wrong but not being told what it is or what to do about it. Guesswork only leads to making matters worse and frustration at not being able or allowed to do anything mounts. The pent up energy of being unable to tackle the situation directly is expressed finely by the instrumentation and vocals, with the key issue being summed up succinctly in the chorus:
“I can’t read your mind / but I can see it in your eyes.” Something’s up; if only they knew what it was.
You don’t need to be a mind reader to know that Tyrannamen has the goods. The proof is in the puddin’ and if you got a pair of ears you can hear that this brand of punk is a great addition to the Cool Death roster.