The UK serves up one of the most acerbic and amusing albums of the year. Bounced about on post-punk principals that are brittle in one breath and rubberized the next, the band manages to tie together songs that act as literate lampoons of themselves and yet remain studded with a bevy of barbs that stick fast in the brainstem. Tom Greenhouse and the bunch step up the production on the album, aloft on a torrent of tin foil guitar riffs, pneumatic drums, and ptomaine-tinged keys. The main drive, though, remains creating a cocoon for Greenhouse’s stream of consciousness screeds that land more than few punches right to the societal sternum.
The band returns to old tricks on the opener, a bone-dry wink at rounding up players to present their wry rippers. By the time the group dig down to singles like “Unjaded” and “Hard Rock Potato,” signs of a pop element begin to peek through the porridge. “Unjaded” tips a hat towards Parquet Courts, but seems so self-aware that it bests the band, slipping a tongue clean through the cheek. The song swivels around its riffs and rapport, a cultural cleanup lyrically that feels well needed in the bleak days of 2022. “Potato” turns up the heat on the guitars, pushing the band away from their usual air conditioned sense of space. They return to the ropey riffs and wire-rim repertoire as the album scrolls on, but on the whole this is a much more dynamic take from the group than I’ve heard in the past. Post-punk as a genre in this era can often find itself painting to a pattern, but The Cool Greenhouse inject a sense of fun into the form. Sod’s Toastie finds them stamping out songs that could easily appeal to the self-important brutalist bore, but there’s the feeling that the moment those listeners turn their back, the band is first in line to take the piss out of them.
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