Punk’s not dead (it just moved to Birmingham)

Beestung Lips

I’m thrilled, seriously, to see this morning (perhaps a little later than I should’ve) that Birmingham’s Beestung Lips have time set aside to record a follow-up release to their blistering debut EP Songs To And From An Iron Gut. The four-piece will be entering a studio on September 3 according to their MySpace page.

Since the release of said EP last year, via local label (and organisers of the excellent Supersonic Festival) Capsule, I’ve barely breathed a word about the band that hasn’t been dripping in extreme positivity. Even after an indifferently received DiScover Club show in March, where their regular vocalist was replaced by a temporary substitute (and alcohol took hold), my love for this fiery foursome dwindled none.

It’s in their eyes, you see, and you can see their eyes in their songs – bulging red, blood-shot, desperate; Watership Down terror. You feel they could kill for their art if such an action was necessary. They’re the full stop at the end of every sentence proclaiming band XYZ as ‘the next Gallows’, the natural conclusion to a cycle that’s seen punk rock co-opted by sports, literature, car design, questionable club nights, et cetera. Punk’s not movement, it’s a moment, and Beestung Lips should be the shadow cast furthest by the explosion back when – nothing needs happen after they inevitably burn out after another one or two searing releases.

‘Inevitably’ because there’s self-destruction in their veins, and some days a visual reluctance to acknowledge how fucking amazing they can be; nonchalance exuded where cockiness and a degree of self-aggrandizing attitude would be absolutely acceptable. That, and their vocalist is the cracked chain link, the seed of doubt – it’s nothing to do with his performances, but because he (he being one ‘Wayfarer Pearton’ according to MySpace) is a man with ills evident. Thusly he departed the stage early at Supersonic last month – I wonder if this post on MySpace is a reference to the day:


I did walk off stage. Off stage, through walls, through hell to embrace the only feelings that are truly personal: joy and grief. There will be a new record, commited to posterity in September. I will be contributing. It will be the rock of all ages, it will have the balls to be pagan, it will be the big yell fuck of the year.”

That: commitment to a cause, however limited the cause’s widescreen ambitions. If he leaves and Beestung Lips fill the gap for good then they may succeed to a level where ten-date support tours become a reality, if they want it; if in his absence there’s only a void that sucks the remaining three into it, then so be it: Songs To And From An Iron Gut is a record I return to time and again, and it’ll always be a classic debut in my ears. Vitriolic, melodic, acerbic, challenging, accessible, surreal, suffocating, intoxicating – it’s a paradox set to compact disc, from a band that should be bigger than the sun but, failing that, scorch with an equal heat.

The fruits of September’s sessions can’t come quickly enough.

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