DEZERTER: Kolaboracja: LP

It took me a second to recognize this as a new pressing of Dezerter’s classic 1987 LP. Dezerter were an influential early Polish punk band (anyone who has ever traded records with a label in Poland knows this because they are referenced over and over again). Think of a Black Flag or Crass for Poland. I’d been hearing about this record for years, but had never actually heard it. I was excited but not sure what to expect. I’ve found that that there seem to be a handful of standard bands that influenced a large part of the punk bands from outside the U.K./U.S., and most sounds from the ‘80s are easily traced back to Black Flag or Discharge in some way. But Dezerter seem like they’re from a totally different world. I guess the driest way to describe their sound is like the Minutemen with some hints of the Red Wave bands (Kino, et cetera) that probably had recordings make their way into Poland. I was floored by how mature the band sounded, and how little “mainstream” rock had impacted their sound. The record comes with a booklet with a lot of historical information (in both Polish and English) explaining the context of the record’s release when it was censored by the government. It gives you an idea of how difficult it was just to be a “deviant” in Polish society in the ‘80s, let alone publically criticize the government. But outside of its context, the truth is the record is good enough to hold up on its own and if these songs had been penned by Californians or Manchester punks then we wouldn’t need to discover this in 2016. This is an absolutely critical punk record from a legitimately tumultuous time.

 –Ian Wise (Pasazer,