Electric Glitter Boogie by Power is an album of 70s proto-punk meets traditional rock and roll. The record is draped in tattered denim and well-worn leather, wearing ripped jeans and boots perfect for stomping. It draws upon influences of Australian and international forerunners but serves to add a modern kick to the hard rock lineage.
Cool Death Records has a reputation for being one of the most prolific distributors of energetic Australian punk. In an age where downer, drone and psych permeate the heavy spectrum of Australian punk rock, Cool Death chooses to champion the bands that abide by an old school, no frills punk ethos – where the songs are direct, the guitars are loud and the execution is tight. Power emerged onto the Australian punk scene in 2014 with a strong sound that harkened back to the proto-punk era that spawned The Stooges and paved the way for modern punk and hardcore. Although their sound aligns closer to rock and roll, the punk pedigree is strong – guitarist and vocalist Nathan Williams plays in Gutter Gods and Dribble, while Isaac the bass player performs in Soma Coma and Leather Lickers and Penke plays drums in Krömosom. These other bands are firmly entrenched in the hardcore and metal side of things, but like Power they all straddle punk in one form or another.
Power has unleashed Electric Glitter Boogie, their first full length effort after enticing listeners with a string of singles. The album is packed with sharp, throbbing rock punk – blistering, pummelling and relentless. Power’s brand of punk leans heavily towards the ramshackle and in-yr-face abrasiveness of the ground-breaking outfits for generations past. Like much old school rock and roll (talking about the 70s), Electric Glitter Boogie is music that is made to entice frenzy; it’s music that is here for a good time, not a long time. Like MC5, Power likes to kick out the jams. Nathan relayed to Noisey that initial jams took shape along the lines of Australian ‘hard rock/boogie, glam, heavy metal and Japanese psych’.
Most of the bands that Power would have drawn influence from (The Stooges, The Ramones, Black Sabbath, The Dictators) excelled in doing things simply, nailing the rhythm, the groove and the break-downs so as to facilitate head banging. Power manages to do this as well, locking down the aesthetic and emphasising the party, the boogie and the jam. Unlike some of the forerunners, Power indulges in visceral vocalisation – and that is where the punk influences come into play.
First single ‘Serpent City’ clued audiences in to Power’s knack for gripping and ripping – introducing its sound y way of bass hooks, catchy riffs and toe-tapping drums. Nathan Williams howls and strains his voice to add a rougher edge. He’s no Lemmy, but his voice adds to the mix and builds intensity. ‘Slimy’s Chains’ was offered early in 2015 and is a rollicking good time condensed into four minutes – it’s almost poppy, good for twisting and shouting. Songs like ‘Gimme Head’ introduce needling guitar notes which are familiar riffing techniques throughout the hard rock genre, interspersed with a thrashing chorus and throat shredding, phlegm hocking vocals. ‘Rainbow Man’ brings a speedy edge to the album’s latter half, which also features the almost-bluesy highlight ‘The Reaper’ and finally ’Power’, Power’s steel-toed finale – gritty and jagged, much like everything that preceded it, perfectly encapsulating the album as a whole.
Despite the aural similarities to Detroit proto-punk and New York punk, Power’s Electric Glitter Boogie is a great addition to the Australian hard rock lineage. The Saints, Radio Birdman, Coloured Balls and The Scientists are a fine group of acts to be joining. While Power might not be overly concerned about becoming part of that pantheon, it’s good to see bands continuing to keep the hard-bitten Australian rock and roll legacy, and all the more better if they incorporate more punk elements along the way.
Image credit: Glen Schenau of Per Purpose / Blanket Canvassing