Necking is a four-piece girl punk band from the Vancouver area. My status as an old punk fogey writing about music for ... well, let's just say longer than they have been alive (the vocalist sings in Boss that she is 2 years from 25, while my history of music reviewing extends back to 1991) has led to EvilSponge getting a lot of promos of punk bands.
Like any genre, things get stuck in a rut. A lot of what i hear are people who are taking the Green Day model and running with it. Gee, another bunch of white guys singing sarcastically about drugs and unfairness. Yawn. I've been listening to that kind of shit for a long time, and there just isn't a lot more to say.
To me, the most exciting punk music these days is being made by girls. Or grrrls. Women. Womyn. Ladies. Whatever.
And of that category, Necking show on their debut record that they belong at the top of the heap. This is loud, angry, sarcastic, and bitter, with chugging guitars and tight rhythms (Mike Dirnt has nothing on Necking bassist Sonya R!).
The other thing i like about this is that i relate to some of the lyrical matter, something that i can't say all that often anymore. Not to say that these ladies are channeling fat middle-aged Southern guy angst, but rather that a song about not wanting to go out but glad you did when you get there (Drag Me Out), being angry/confused at the way things gentrify into a stale version of boredom (No Playtime), about working a stupid job because your degree was weird and unpractical (Spare Me), or about working a stupid call center job (Go Getter) are experiences that i can directly relate to.
And the fact that Necking sing about those things with rhythms that i can pogo in my head to, is an added bonus.
The record starts off with Big Mouth, when the vocalist sings about an ex-fling who talks too much and makes her "Way hotter in your memory". She talks the verses, ranting about him, then screams through the choruses as the song gets fast and angry.
No Playtime features several members of the band screaming about gentrification in Vancouver and wondering if they'll have to "move to Montreal". I am sad to see that everything is being turned into condos above shops in Vancouver just as it is here in Atlanta. It's a good catchy song though.
There is a great transition between songs here. No Playtime kind of grinds out and then just cuts, there is a tiny pause and then a new, faster rhythm comes in, drummer Melissa Kuipers really pounding it for Drag Me Out. This little transition makes this record seem almost like it was recorded live, and makes me want to see them in concert. Anyway, this tune starts off with vocalist Hannah Karren singing "I'm a / catty / bitch!" and ranting about being exhausted and wanting to just stay home. She is really yelling as the band hammers at it, and it really reminds me of very old punk like The Slits or X-Ray Spex. A great transition and a good song.
The next song, Boss is one that i cannot directly relate to. It's about sleeping with your boss to get ahead at work, which is something that just never happened to me. But itís got a nice fast beat and really tears along, catchy as heck.
Still Exist is a nice punk tune about existential dread that gets faster and more frantic as the song tears forward. Nicely done.
Rover grinds wonderfully, the guitarist Nada Hayek putting out a good riff as Karren sings about life from the perspective of a somewhat neglected dog. Perhaps my least favorite track here.
They follow that up with a 63 second song about being a "call center Go Getter" as Karren barks out words about a pointless job as the band hammers furiously. This is a good old school punk a la The Descendents.
The job angst continues on Spare Me, which starts off with a really great riff from bassist Sonya R. I have a degree in philosophy and work in IT, so i get it when Karren rants about her art degree being useless at work, i guess in the call center.
And finally Necking end the record with Habbo Hotel which moves at a pace that is almost ponderous for them, but stretched out ever so slightly their music still holds up. I like the drumming and the slower guitar grind. "Cyber sex is gonna send me straight to hell," Karren moans, and then suddenly the song pops and they are playing fast and furious again.
This is impressive. The songs are catchy and relatable, and i like what they are doing here. I would love these ladies to travel down South on tour, as i bet they are great fun in concert.