Music Reviews


Action Chemistry

Punk in My Vitamins

Karp have bundled together a little black humor treasure trove of singles, compilation tracks, bits and bobs and covers just because they love the listening public ever so much. I’d usually be suspicious of a group’s motives for packaging “leftovers” as a proper release, maybe contract filler or even a cash cow enterprise, but fuck it, this is Karp, and who has time to buy singles anyway? Karp’s cynicism runs far deeper than mere capitalist interests and c’mon they do killer, not filler.

What they also do, is a razor raw hyperspeed sore-throat sludge that is nihilistic, anti-fame, and cruelly funny as anything in the underground (or overground) going now. Why, the liner notes alone are worth the price of admission, full of claims of recording with a live bear in the studio, of being influenced by Sylvester Stalone’s godawful Cliffhanger, drunken teenage kicks, and bitter self-recrimination over turning into an emo band.

The artwork makes its presence felt in the sublime/ridiculous debate with collaged images of cows skewering and serving up humans, good to eat. Grind gods Karp in vegetarian shock horror! Emo vegetarians, even! They boyz cover a Long Hind Legs tune and play it as softly and art-damaged on the original, a portrait of melancholy resignation building up into pounding waves of guitar and anger. A Black Flag song gets the Karp treatment in a complete 180 fashion with the doomy lead riff pummeled into submission and their roadie/photographer screaming along in a tunnel at least two miles off site. There are old singles and early recording sessions and damn if their Mecha-Godzilla sound wasn’t already fully in evidence then.

The dark heart of Karp, their impenetrable riffing, serrated corners and hilariously oblique lyrics all seem to gel together as the living manifestation of a Mel Brooks maxim – “Tragedy is when I cut my finger, comedy is when you fall in a manhole and die.” Songs that make you want to rage along and a piss-taking ethos that won’t make you feel dirty for it.

Punk in My Vitamins:

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