Eddy Current Suppression Ring’s first track pressed to wax, “So Many Things,” is a lot like other rock ‘n’ roll bands’ first singles. It’s sloppy, it’s raw, fun and catchy, and it’s about a girl. The Australian garage rock band doesn’t even necessarily sound like they have a specific plan as they run through its buzzing organ grooves and scratchy guitar chords. Their singer rants more than sings, drunkenly stumbling through lines like “I don’t need you anymore/ because you’re a dickhead” and “I don’t need you… bitch/no, you’re not a bitch, you’re very nice.” It’s definitely not slick, and it’s borderline voyeuristic; it’s almost as if you’d happened across some demos unintended for an audience beyond the four guys responsible for recording it.
Eddy Current Suppression Ring’s new compilation of singles and rarities, also titled So Many Things, presents a much broader picture than the messy jam session in that first single. The journey from track one to track 22 shows that the band tightened up gradually in that span of eight years, never shedding that raw punk rock “fuck-all” attitude, but certainly taking on more of a professional sound, so to speak. While one could hardly call much of what the band does “commercial,” it’s not terribly inappropriate when applied to a taut rocker like “Hey Mum.” Still, while they tinkered with their sound until getting it just right, the band never shed that snotty, punk rock vibe of their first track.
In fact, it only takes one track beyond “So Many Things” to hear the Eddys soaring into a Pink Flag-like punk rock burner, “Get Up Morning,” which is followed up by the even more streamlined “You Don’t Care,” which boasts the first mighty, shout-along chorus of the entire compilation. And it’s these concise, wiry punk rockers in which the band truly excels, balancing hedonistic with nihilistic effortlessly, which is easy to do when your default setting is to sound like you give no shit. Occasionally the group does stretch out their taut garage explosions into arty dirges, however, as on the swaggering “Demon’s Demands,” or the hard driving “I’m Guilty.” Should those interrupt a good, long wave of the middle fingers, there’s always the band’s cover of The Go-Go’s classic single “We Got the Beat,” which is pleasingly messy.
In eight years, Eddy Current Suppression Ring has evolved a bit, but not necessarily enough to make one forget about their talent for blistering and chaotic punk rock tunes. And, though it’s a bit all over the map, So Many Things isn’t a bad place to start for newcomers. The first track is enough of a drunken good time to elicit a grin, and the tracks that follow only up the band’s game as the album progresses.
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Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.