Saturday, 21 September 2013

Machine Gun Etiquette "S/t" Ep 2002

Almost two weeks since my last post... Time does fly... And actually this one is going to be short since I don't have much to say about the band and, for once, I will let the music do the ranting.

This Ep is just high quality old-school punk-rock. I could stop the review here but then I guess some convincing might be needed since Machine Gun Etiquette have never exactly been the most hyped band of their time. MGE were from Glasgow and formed in the mid 90's. They were touring mates of Ex-Cathedra with whom they shared a member (re-reading the Ex-Cathedra chapter today I realized that there was an ex-Dreadful member in the band: from monstrously chaotic grindcore to ska-punk... The amazing world of punk!). In fact, MGE's music is not so dissimilar to Ex-Cathedra's punkier moments. Raspy and snotty vocals, good bass lines, super catchy chorus that you instantly remember and shout along to. Quality stuff, I told you. MGE brings to mind some of the older punk bands like SLF or UK Subs but with the added snottiness and aggression of Mayhem, Uproar, Chaotic Youth or Last Rites. I personally see them in the same light as the other great tuneful punk-rock bands of the 90's in Britain, bands like Red Flag 77, Zero Tolerance, Suicidal Supermarket Trolleys, The Nerves or even the records External Menace did during that decade (and they are top notch records for sure).

From what I can gather, MGE were definitely a political band who happened to also love the funnier side of punk-rock and this shows in their lyrics. The A side was recorded in 1999 while the other one is two years older. The first song is actually my favourite and may even be the best MGE's song ever. "Hate this city" is a brutally honest, hopeless and vivid depiction of life in Glasgow, a city famous for its violence and its cut-throat alleys. The sound on this one is terrific and the chorus are infectious (though this could be said for the three songs of this Ep). The introductory bass melody hooks you right away and takes you for a ride during the whole song. Despite lyrics about alienation in a grey and ruthless city, you will find yourself humming to this little wonder all day. There are two other songs on the B side, "18P1984" and "Joe Public", and although the sound is not as good, the song-writing and the tunes are solid enough to make thoroughly enjoyable. "18P1984" is a tongue in cheek one about a punk musician who is only in it for the drugs and the sex and doesn't understand why he cannot write a decent song. "Joe Public" is about censorship and propaganda in the media and how we are kept in line with stupid and superficial news while the real issues are silenced.

This Ep was the last MGE's record and it is probably their best one (though I must confess that the cover is pretty terrible... Seriously, nuns with guns?). It was released on Gas Records, which is, I believe, Slime's record label (or at least a label closely related to them). Some of the members of Machine Gun Etiquette went on to play in Scunnered, probably among other bands.


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