The general attitude of 'life-ends-at-the-Ramones' among Sydney bands is getting to be a right pain. Working within rock's greatest cliché, within pretty feeble variants of rock's greatest cliché, the 12-bar blues, a seemingly endless stream of fuzz-boxed know-alls have found themselves on stages throughout Sydney, evidently intending to let us know why we aren't much cop as human beings. Ultimately, that only shows off their own inability to comment. You see, they can't write songs (or any other form of musical fills). The only straight punk band I've seen who could write an effective song was filth, but their nauseating attempts to kill or maim as much of their audience as possible so alienated me that I'll do my best to make sure I never hear them again.
Fortunately, over the past couple of months a more positive new wavish scene has been developing around a club in Bondi Junction called Blondies. It's a ridiculous place, bright red tables and carpet, a waitress (?!), but worst of all strategically placed partitioning walls effectively blocking the band from view unless you squeeze onto the tiny dance floor. However, if the music's alright none of this matters, right? Well, they get their share of duds at Blondies, but probably the most interesting band to play there has been Crime & the City Solution. Their repertoire of about 10 songs includes not one ready-to-grasp hookline, which is a relief. Nothing to sing along with but plenty to listen to. An exciting blend of fuzzed monotone guitar runs and squawking saxophone riffs, the closest comparisons I could make would be the drone songs on Wire's 'Pink Flag', except better. The band have a definite sound which makes it hard to remember individual songs, at least on first hearing, but I recall being impressed by the separateness of entity (is this terrific grammar?) of each song at the time. Doubtless, something time will heal.
They played two sets of about half an hour each, and the dance floor was being danced on, but nobody clapped much. Clapping isn't very big at the moment. I clapped the last song because it was good. In this song, the guitarist disappeared; the sax player became the guitarist instead. What they played was long, repetitive, heavy and absolutely good. It didn't actually sound like 'Sister Ray' but it had that same bludgeoning effect. The singer recited from a piece of paper over an incredibly powerful three-chord riff. A different progression, that probably would have passed as a chorus under other circumstances, dropped in every now and then, but didn't put much of a halt to one's trip through the walls. Smashing climax and good stuff. Catch them if you can.