SUE – It Will Never End
There’s a wonderful Tony Wilson interview where he talks about how Punk was the kids shouting “Fuck you” and what came after and was more interesting was when they looked around and said “We’re fucked”.
It’s a short but pretty spot on evaluation for “It Will Never End” the debut album from West Midlands based noise rockers SUE.
It’s a 50 minute trip of caustic, brutal, primal music punctuated with anger and self loathing. It’s bookended by tracks called “I hate my face” and “I am nothing” for gods sake.
The best hardcore influenced music straddles that thin line of self obsession and broken ego. You hate yourself but it’s also all you think about, and a lyric like “I see myself in all their faces… Just like them, I am nothing” is perfect. It’s visceral, it’s pissed off but it’s sad, even resigned. It’s saying something very complicated in a very simple way. It speaks to the voice in all of us.
In terms of music, it’s refreshing to hear a debut that’s so well crafted and unafraid to colour outside the lines of genre tribalism. Yes it’s noisy, it’s covered in layers and layers of fuzz and the words are delivered in howls, barks, shrieks and screams. There’s a clear lineage from bands like MC5 and The Jesus Lizard, but there’s a lot more going on.
Album highlight and half way point “Put me to sleep” slows it down to a throbbing Desert Rock groove, it slinks rather than bludgeons, with disco style open hi hats daring to add some funk to the filth. There’s also honest to god actual guitar solos all over the record. I mean proper, shreddy, wiggly ones that would be seen as the anathema of punk.
Across the album as a whole I’m blown away by the drummer. The guy’s an absolute machine and holds the whole thing together, keeping it from falling into utter chaos whilst pummelling your ear drums in a hard hitting frenzy.
These songs haven’t just been written, they’ve been crafted. Like fellow noise rockers Metz who waited as long as possible to record their debut because they wanted to get it right. Again it’s rebelling against that outdated punk ethos, and that’s pretty punk rock.
The cross over success of IDLES shows there’s an audience for this kind of thing. We’re living in pretty extreme times and the art should reflect that. Like IDLES the guys in SUE aren’t afraid of showing some vulnerability in a scene that’s traditionally thrived on aggression. They are proving you can be fucked off and nuanced at the same time. Album closer proper, the aforementioned “I am Nothing” probably says it best, and with the most fully realised use of dynamics, but there is a gorgeous little secret track tagged on at the end.
Walking down the street with SUE in my headphones I wanted to scream out loud, smash things up and kick things down. It made me feel alive, and I can give no higher praise to art than that.