By Alex Salisbury
Swagger, sneer and cynicism are the three keywords to remember about Disgraceland’s début EP release, the imaginatively titled ‘EP #1’. The Devon-based, punk rock-and-roll, three-piece, are a fairly new outfit, emerging from the ashes of veteran DIY rock band Grifter.
Disgraceland’s Ollie (vocals and guitar) and Foz (drums) clocked up 14 years and numerous gig miles before the end of Grifter’s lifetime. Joining them on bass is Chris Slew, another veteran of the touring scene, who played with bands like Fattychan and Drive Chain.
Apparently the band tossed around numerous names for the EP, before landing on ‘EP #1’, keeping it simple, like the style of music on offer here. But, that it is not a negative, it was a deliberate choice by the band.
The five tracks showcased here are to the point, rock and roll with a punk edge, and that’s what Disgraceland are all about, so why complicate matters? The band, in their words, are ‘high energy, no frills, with no pretence, just noisy, fast and aggressive’ and that sums them up completely.
The EP opens with ‘You Deserve It’, the high speed, high intensity jam that hits you between the eyes from the off. Although it’s a high tempo, straight to the point track, there’s still an essence of groove buried away under the guitar distortion and noise.
The whole EP is loud and fast and the production on it is excellent, nothing gets lost in the mix even with everything happening at breakneck speeds and ear splitting volumes. If this opening track doesn’t grab you from the off then Disgraceland are probably not for you, but, for me, this is musical heaven.
‘I Got It All’ is up next, the punk-rock-a-billy cut, driven by a bouncy bassline, opening guitar riff and relentless drums, and again there’s a groove in there which you could shake your ass to if the mood took you.
‘Best Little Doggy’, eases it’s foot off the gas a little and is a well positioned palette cleanser in the middle of ‘EP#1’. Packed full of the aforementioned swagger and sneer, it opens with a dirty and sleazy guitar riff which sets the tone for the whole track.
The pace starts off subdued on track four, ‘Just Some Fucking Words’. Ollie’s spoken lyrics are a slight detour from what else is on offer here, but nonetheless retains that swagger and throws plenty of cynicism into the mix.
Final track on the EP may have something to do with politics, the wonderfully entitled ‘100% Cunt’. Again that groove and heaviness return to close out the EP, with cynical lyrical content about most politicians being the “same old cunts, just a different name“. In today’s climate that’s pretty on the money, right?
All-in-all ‘EP #1’ is a cracking delve into the Disgraceland sound, a small and restricted (deliberately so), slice of rock-and-roll goodness that’s pretty damn fulfilling. Any fan of dirty, swaggery rock and roll, or punk with a social commentary running throughout it will be happy with this offering and should definitely check it out.