Sound of the Westway
One of the saving graces of punk is that, every so often, amidst wave after wave of identical spikey-sneering boys, there are interesting mutations on the three-chords-and-start-a-band formula that make the whole thing worthwhile (even with the Warped Tour and Paramore setting the current tone). Case in point: Swiss grrrl punks Chin Chin. Rescued from tape-trader oblivion and given a deluxe vinyl reissue by Slumberland Records (who pulled off a similar feat with their stellar Black Tambourine collection), Sounds of the Westway is a rollicking mix of Oi singalong catchiness, Raincoats-esque paranoid guitar scratches, the Slits’ wild abandon, a sense of space similar to Seventeen Seconds-era Cure, and almost disarmingly sweet girl-group vocals pouring out these incredible singalong choruses. And is that a harmonica in there? It’s an intriguing fucking meld of early indie jangle and blue-collar punk. Chin Ching offers a “through the looking glass” foretelling of pop punk refreshingly free of the towel-snapping hijinks of said genre as well as what was to come with groups like Vivian Girls and Brilliant Colors. And just fucking try to not get all over-excited about their bruised, angelic gang-vocal harmonies.