Melbourne’s slightly ill-named Clowns shore up their third album with a delightful mix of grit and pop bounce. They’re laying down in the grunge gutter, dredging up dreams of Seattle’s ’90s hangover, but like fellow Aussie’s Dune Rats, they have a rat tail of pop punk hidden in the necks of their tattered sweaters. They ricochet the grunge impulses through a run at SoCal’s skate set, pushing tempos perilously fast, with frontman Stevie Williams screaming like blood through caffeinated veins. They make the combo work almost enviably well, straining the calamitous pop chunks into muscular riffs, roughed up with snotty angst that should shake the walls and drown out even the most persistent parent.
Clowns sprinkle a fair amount polish on this record, despite it’s chaotic crunch, showing an ear for production with acoustic touches, a lite-psych sprinkling, and a penchant to push punk past the four-minute mark. There’s been a rash of sub-Millenial bands cherishing the ’90s through an internet-film filter, and despite their tendency to gloss over the rough patches and the inexplicable ubiquity of Carson Daly, it’s been fun to take the trip to the mall once again. Sure, a good chunk of us have been here before, god knows I have, but its freeing to feel the circle pit roar up again for 40-minutes or so.
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