Ausmuteants third record of mind-flayed punk finds the band just as bracing as they’ve always been, tearing through blistered tempos, mutant squalls and the same blend of new wave weirdness and tenacious bite that’s borne them into RSTB’s hearts time and again. There are plenty who seek to pick up the yoke that was once held high by a nascent DEVO and chewed like glass in the mouths of Chrome, The Screamers or Magazine, but Ausmuteants have rightfully nailed the squirming eye of sci-fi infected punk. Practically every inch of Ausmuteants sounds like its inhabiting the world of Otto Maddox from Repo Man, Crabs from Dead End Drive-in or Rebeca Buck in Tank Girl. They’ve got the pent-up fury and the punch to the throat that gets things started, but what Ausmuteants have really going for them is that syth strain of sci-fi flash that feels like they’d have understood the weirdness and rolled with it.
The band smoothed a bit for Order of Operation but they seem to have gotten their blood boiling again on Band of the Future. The angles are sharper, the synths squirm at the touch and vocalist Jake Robertson is lyrically eviscerating any subject he chooses to lay into. Sure there are some that might scoff at the title Band of the Future, given that the ’70s influences that drive them are so open and apparent. But here’s the thing, when bands like Devo or The Screamers or Chrome brought their apocalyptic punk to the masses, there was genuine worry for a nuclear winter. There was a very real threat of wasteland politics on the rise. I’m not so certain the music of the future isn’t still rooted in this kind of fanged blast of charged punk, ready to bolster unhinged courage in the face of societal breakdown. Seems like there’s an air of apocalypse gathering in the public consciousness once again. If we’re getting closer to that Thunderdome each year, there’s not much else I want blasting from the speakers of my own scrapyard conveyance than a bit of Ausmuteants.
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