CRACKBOX: Self-titled: 7”

Sep 23, 2011

Punks are complex. Punks are the same people who break all their shit one night and work on their gardens the next morning. There’s a rocky grace to punk rock; this grace that compels the same punk who blacked out and tried to fight everybody the night before to bring a bottle of whiskey over the next night as an apology. Punks are assholes a lot of the time, dealing poorly with their own demons. This is because the punks are a fucked up lot. That’s what attracts people to punk; they have no place anywhere else. Few punk records, though, cover the breadth of the punk experience. If you want happiness or smarmy nostalgia, put on a pop punk record. If you need call-to-arms anthems, put on a Gorilla Biscuits record. If you’re feeling hateful, put on a GG Allin record. Punks themselves have always been more complex than the records they play, because the records usually only tell one side of the story. There’s some kind of unspoken law about that and the best punk records are the ones that break it. Some of these exceptions are bands like The Gits, The Dicks, Patti Smith Group, Citizen Fish, and Leatherface. If it weren’t for punk bands like these that speak of a wider range of human experience and emotion, well, I would listen to a lot less punk rock. I would listen to even more Leonard Cohen and Creedence Clearwater Revival than I already do. Crackbox does this for us. The first side starts with “In Love Must Mean Stupid,” a song about a fucked up relationship. On the second song, Corrina sounds like a demon as she sings “On My Feet,” a song so nihilistic that it comes up on the other side as positivity. Nobody knows like the punks do that not giving a fuck about anything, even dying, is the kind of desperation that leads to an exciting and momentous life. If everything is a struggle than struggle is everything. By the second side, it seems that some things have been worked out. These songs switch to shouted anthems. “Cop Out” is a vitriolic jab at jaded punks who fell off, with the chorus “fuck your cop out/our greatest fear is to shine not burn out.” I love that lyric, the way that it acknowledges the cynical urge but is dead set on resisting it. A line in the sand is drawn on this record between the healthy kind of not giving a fuck and the bullshit kind of not giving a fuck. It’s about the struggle of being human, to get by, but it’s in the language of punk. Maybe only punks will understand it. Punks are complex.

 –Craven ([email protected])

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