One of the most explosive and addictive albums of the year comes from Adulkt Life featuring Chris from Huggy Bear, John Webb and Kev from Male Bonding and Sonny Barrett. The cut-and-paste word collages Rowley once shouted in Huggy Bear are as cool and thrilling as ever on Book Of Curses - with chiseled noise hooks expertly mixed by Webb and mastered by Total Control’s Mikey Young, fitting the “cold war bubblegum” aesthetic called out in the lyrics—but charged by the high-stakes of adulthood. Taking Hits is a rallying cry for those unable to cry. The brooding Flipper, a “city hymn,” indeed nods to the noise-rock band of the same name. Audibly pained, JNR Showtime addresses child abuse with rage and disgust. Other songs, ablaze, explore lawlessness, authenticity, love, redemption, like fables of radicals across time and space: us versus them, defeat and resurrection, sax squall, noise blasts, visceral empathy for the vulnerable and disenfranchised. Rowley’s apocalyptic visions just happen to appear alongside bedtime stories. The explosive Stevie K is a “mythic hero/ine song” inspired by Nation of Ulysses guitarist Steve Kroner. Book Of Curses’s dynamic, affecting closer, New Curfew, is a song about the contradictions of youthful protest and unrest from the perspective of a parent whose daughter may soon be rioting herself. On Book Of Curses, punk means never surrendering your creativity or your curiosity.
For fans of Sonic Youth, Huggy Bear and Nation of Ulysses.