Update: The Niche website has now been taken down, scroll down the page to read the full review
For my first article for new Channel Islands artistic showcase website Niche I turned my ‘critical eye’ on the debut EP from The Black Vote, Sic Semper Tyrannis.
Last month finally saw the release of the long awaited debut EP from Guernsey punk band The Black Vote – Sic Semper Tyrannis.
The band is comprised (currently) of Andy Duchemin (vocals and bass), Cam Le Page (guitar) and Marcus Laurence (drums), however what we hear on the record is the slightly different line up who were gigging in the first half of 2012 with Andy on guitar and vocals and Ave Thompson on bass.
Anyone who follows Guernsey’s punk scene (what there is of it) will recognise at least a couple of those names so its no surprise that the songwriting here stands up to what we’ve come to expect from Andy, with wit and profanity rubbing shoulders with the sense of direct action politics and genuine feeling that are the cornerstones of much punk rock.
The more social edge comes across most obviously on Shit Was So Cash (although for reasons best known to the band the version on the EP is the considerably watered down radio edit) and National Razor, which features a great shout along chorus.
The other track on the disc/stream, I Don’t Make Threats, I Make Promises also features the same cliché based lyrical structure that can lead to audiences shouting the words back at a band (and I don’t mean this as a bad thing), but seems to be more focused on real life than higher thoughts of politics or social issues and is probably the most completely successful of the three songs in terms of both recording and songwriting.
Being a demo EP, of a sort, the quality of the recording is, understandably, rough and ready, but at the same time it perfectly suits the vicious assault of noise that is the calling card of the most ferocious punk rock – at least across the first two tracks.
National Razor is a slightly different case, and here I have to point out my unintentional involvement with the production of the EP, in that the audio comes from a video I recorded on my phone at a Rock of Ages show in February 2012. While the sound quality is far from top notch it does give a sense of the chaotic sound The Black Vote make live.
For a first EP from a band featuring a couple of known musicians Sic Semper Tyrannis is about what I expected and, for a fan of punk rock like myself, is a good addition to a lineage started by the likes of Insurrection in the late 1980s – I look forward to hearing a more complete recording sometime in the future though.
And here’s a video of the band playing live at the aforementioned Fermain Fest: