Sunday, 14 June 2015

Earth Citizens "Complications" Lp, 2001

Earth Citizens' is unlikely to be the most popular post of the almighty Terminal Sound Nuisance. In fact, I am pretty sure they won't. And now that I think about it, it is quite probable that even when they were around, Earth Citizens were not exactly the school's coolest kid  However, for all the music's amateurism and lovable sloppiness (especially on this Lp), they stand for something that I tend to value: genuineness. If I were to name bands or labels that epitomize the purest, staunchest anarchopunk spirit, Earth Citizens and Resistance Productions/Strongly Opposed would certainly make it to the top 5. And if I were to make a ranking of anarcho's cheesiest names, they could possibly make it to the semi-final, behind all the bands, as good as they might have been, that had "Indian" in their name (yes, I am taking about you Indian Dream, City Indians and White Indians! Flux of Pink Indians are out of anyone's cheese league).

EC were from Zürich, Switzerland, and formed in 1990. Despite their brief existence (they split in 1992), they managed to release one tape album, "To a nation of party lovers", which would be re-issued as an Lp in 2001, and one Ep, "No god, no leaders, no state, no religion", with one of my favourite Ep covers of the 90's, and even toured Europe, all of the above being achieved in genuine DIY fashion. Several members of EC were really active in the then flourishing Zürich's political squat scene and involved with the label Resistance Productions. The band rose from the ashes of Orange World, but Pablo at least was involved in other bands earlier on like The Decay (Shit Fi material if there has ever been any) or Brains of Humans, and after EC, in Avaricious (an England-based anarchopunk project that could have had an Ep on Bluurg if they had been around then), Protest (very raw punk) and Total Control (based in the Parisian southern suburbs, one member of which would form Garage Lopez later on).

It is difficult to separate EC and the bands that it emerged from and merged into from Resistance Productions and its continuation, Strongly Opposed, as both labels released the totality of the bands' discographies. Resistance Productions was, from 1985 to 1990, a tape label mostly, that released tape compilations, recordings from local bands such as Brains of Humans as well as tape-reissues of bands like Political Asylum, Embittered or even Snuff. They then started to release some proper vinyls, the Earth Citizens and Suicidal Supermarket Trolleys Ep's for instance, but it largely remained a tape label. In 1998, when Strongly Opposed was founded however, it became a vinyl-only operation. This "Complications" Lp was released on the aforementioned label in 2001 and it gathers four songs from the Ep as well as many tracks that originally appeared on compilations (the very crusty-sounding "Questioning" was included on a Profane Existence double-Ep comp in 1993). The sound-quality on the Lp is quite rough as some songs were basically recorded in a squat's practice space, but even the songs that were recorded in a studio have that raw and spontaneous quality that often characterized European anarcho bands in the early 90's. This is unintentionally sloppy and distorted, squat-proof, no bullshit anarchopunk music as a way of life.

Stylistically, Earth Citizens were not a one-trick pony, and although the cynical among you would say that none of their tricks were really that good, the band at least did not fall in the cheap d-beat simplicity (since, let's get real for a minute, very few bands can actually pull it properly in the long run). There are undeniably some crustcore elements, and some songs reminds me of Doom's demos or Private Jesus Detector (gruffcore's roughest side), but also some more traditional fast anarchopunk with dual-vocals from the heart and lungs, not dissimilar to early Bad Influence, Oi Polloi or early Antisect, and you'll even hear some catchy mid-tempo punky songs with a female singer that could have been lifted from an early Toxic Waste practice. The music is very energetic and even intense, urgent in the midst of the general shamble and you can feel that the band cared deeply about what they were singing about. "Punk is not a fashion, it's a fight!" the band states in the booklet, and as idealistic as it sounds, they certainly believed deeply in it. Songs about consumerism, the need to fight back, question the shit we're being fed and to offer positive alternatives. The artwork is totally on par with the ideas expressed and, for its crudity, with the music some might say... If anything, give a real chance to this Lp for the song "System slaves", a heavy and raw mid-tempo old-school crust anthem reminiscent of Sarcasm's slowest moments that is an absolute crusher.

Punk love on the barricades

I just bloody love that band.        

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