Bennies, Booze, and R&R by Angered WrecksRelease date: November 22, 2021
Label: Cardinal Fuzz
Is punk dead? If not, it should be. It’s rancid corpse spewing up safety pins, mohicans, and boarish lyrics onto the spleen-twisting nostalgia delivering yet another claim that the Pistols redefined a culture. What culture…one that ultimately produced the true antipathy of punk in its pop format or yet another reunion for the ghost of punk past as Johnny Rotten lifts his cadaver eyes to the glory of money. Yeah, punk…that age-old claim of “real” sold out once. But that’s not really punk is it. Not for those raised on a diet of MC5 and The Stooges, wrapped up in the chaotic sounds of a non-stop intensive cabaret whilst swirling stabs of attitude lacerate your ears. That’s what we’re talking about, and that’s certainly what Angered Wrecks want to talk to you about.
Well, at least, they did, back in 1981, and this timely reissue from the good ship Cardinal Fuzz alerts us to the time when Fredericton, Canada was home to a burgeoning punk scene. Pretty much unheard outside of the local district, Angered Wrecks features none other than John Westhaver of E&D faves TBWNIAS, and thanks to his incessant urge to document and archive music scenes and acts long lost to the mists of time, we can finally bathe ourselves in the glow of nostalgia, only this time none of us were there apart from a select few. A merry band of “freaks” causing a storm on the dark side of town.
Taking residence in a dilapidated townhouse where workers from the local strip club across the road would seek shelter after a night of avoiding the lecherous advances of the clientele, Angered Wrecks lived, rehearsed, and performed as if there entire lives depended on this very moment. Subverting gigs by aiming to break down the parents who accompanied their children (this being a small town where nothing much happens and the young are chaperoned everywhere), their intense music, honed from the very roots of Detroit rock and roll would become the centre of a microcosm of a punk movement in Canada.
The music on offer here features self-written songs, alongside a myriad of covers. It’s attitude is at the forefront straight off with “Fuck You” and the intensity doesn’t stop until the last dropped chords of Sabbath’s “Fairies Wear Boots”. In between is all punk life, including a rather marvellous cover of “Search And Destroy”, but this isn’t music to be dissected and critiqued upon. This is music born of not just attitude, but soul too. This is music which can only be written by those who believe in the true power of rock, roll, jazz, punk, and everything in between and out there. Long time travellers of the TBWNIAS universe will recognise that free-moving attitude even if the music is nothing like the Krautrock-driven jams that they produce (and for further evidence of their continued excellence, do seek out the recently reissued Ensemble album, once again on Cardinal Fuzz).
The townhouse is no more, destroyed after one final party as the landlord took back over the property. The ghosts remain though, and from that comes music from another time. It’s raw and rough, but suitably resonant with the current psych scene, including much that is happening over in Canada right now. If you want to sample the true spirit of punk you won’t go far wrong with this release, Bennies, Booze, and R&R. Even if it doesn’t rewrite history (and why should it) it at least gives you a much needed kick, and leaves you with a suitable grin on your face. Now then, pass the speed pills and jack that vinyl up again.