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Fear and Loathing review new releases by Antillectual, Barbed Wire and Rites

ANTILLECTUAL. Together LP & CD (Engineer & various labels)

Antillectual are a three-piece Dutch punk rock band who have been around for some time, although I’ve only heard one previous release (an EP that featured four cover versions.) This album features ten original songs and so, presumably, will give a better indication of what the band are all about. Their music recalls late Eighties melodic punk (think of bands like Moving Targets, Big Drill Car and maybe even the early Lemonheads albums) while their lyrics are thoughtful and enticing, combining both personal and political observations to give you plenty to think about. The songs vary in tone and tempo, but flow together well as a complete album, while the production and arrangements bring out the very best from the individual tracks. Plenty of melodic hooks that seem destined to stick in your ears, and the band are unafraid to bring-in additional vocals and instrumentation to ensure the best delivery. This is fine music indeed.


Barbed Wire are a trio based in Rome, playing a varied style with influences ranging from hardcore and grunge through to late Eighties DC ‘emo’, mixed with post-punks willingness to experiment with different tones and tempos. I haven’t been able to gather much information about the band (apart from discovering how many other bands have the same name) but there’s a few details on their bandcamp page. Musically, they’re pretty creative and accomplished, using a well-focused production to make the most of their atmospheric melodies and intriguing arrangements. The songs work well together and it’s an album that you’ll want to hear all the way through each time, rather than just selecting individual tracks. There may only be eight songs (in just under 30 minutes) but this is a very solid record and you really ought to give it a listen.


RITES. No Change Without Me LP & CD (Engineer, Sell The Heart & Shield Records)

Rites are a five piece band from the Netherlands. They play a strong style of punk/hardcore fronted by powerful female vocals. Their songs are uptempo without getting thrashy, which allows plenty of room for melodic hooks and catchy tunes without losing any of their energy. I’d guess that they have a really broad range of influences and are not interested in sticking to any already-established style or genre, instead opting for their own sound. Whatever the case, it works really well and this is a really enthralling album. The production is loud but also has plenty of clarity so that you can pick out the more subtle elements within their music. The lyrics deal with many different subjects, some more direct than others but always avoiding mere sloganeering, giving the listeners a chance to address the issues for themselves. I wasn’t able to find much information about the band, online or elsewhere, but I will be keeping my eyes and ears open for future releases and my fingers crossed that they come to play in the UK soon!

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