Words: James Frostick
Band image: Sam Stephenson
Sydney post-punk crew Low Life return with a new 7″, containing a track clipped from the recording sessions of their first LP Dogging. ‘Catholic Guilt’ is an unflinching look at organised religion and the sins of the church, arriving at a time when the ire aimed at the institution of faith has never been more hostile.
Despite being written years ago, Low Life couldn’t have picked a more appropriate time to release ‘Catholic Guilt’. We’re only a few days removed from the release of George Pell after the High Court deemed evidence surrounding numerous child sexual abuse allegations didn’t meet the required standard of proof and many are appalled. A figurehead for one of the world’s largest religious institutions walks free, and the crimes the Catholic Church stands accused of remain unresolved. Many are angry, hurt and disillusioned at the state of it all – fearing that justice has once again become as intangible as it was when the abuses were perpetrated, and subsequently covered up, decades ago.
This track, then, has arrived when it is most needed.
The Sydney-based downer-punk outfit have been sitting on ‘Catholic Guilt’ since prior to the release of 2016’s Dogging, but have elected to remix and reenergise the track for a 7″ release through Alter. Much like Low Life’s output on Dogging, ‘Catholic Guilt’ is laced with the same blend of blighted venom, though the remixing process has bestowed a slightly higher level of fidelity. Cleaner post-punk touches have been added, especially across the song’s guitar lines, which cleanly cut and weave rather than saw and bruise as they did on Dogging tracks such as ‘Speedball’ and ‘DNA’. Mitch Tolman’s vocals are at their disaffected best, each spite-fuelled syllable adding another piece of wood to the pyre at the base of the Church. He is relentless in his delivery, putting his all into spotlighting the blood and cum that coats the hands of the clergy. Low Life is renowned for shedding light on various uncomfortable truths of our society and ‘Catholic Guilt’ no different – it’s a pointed reminder to keep sight of the end goal, justice and peace for those abused.
The ‘Catholic Guilt’ 7″ also comes with a remix of ‘Dream Machine’ by Total Control. The single is available now digitally or in black or clear vinyl.