Recently The Computers released their first full-length album on One Little Indian Records. An Exeter band with an American sound, the group recorded This is the Computers live in San Diego, directly on to tape, with no over-dubs and no computers used throughout the entire recording process. They have made a point in professing that the album has had no tweaks, corrections or autotuning, which to me reeks of purposeful concept-album pretensions masquerading as “rawness” and “grit”. I was therefore fairly apprehensive of this record’s quality, and was uncertain of how exactly their self-determined style of garage-soul-punk would manifest.
I was however pleasantly surprised with what is actually a very cohesive album, with tight and accomplished performances full of a palpable and infectious energy. This is music that has an immediacy; it is aggressive, but not angry; punky, but not simple; blues inspired, but not boring. Tracks are quick tirades of hardcore inspired pungency, and the album crashes by in less than 25 minutes, leaving you thoroughly exhilarated at the end of their rapid eleven song stint.
The most predominant element of the entire album is the lead vocals, which are made up of raspy vocal shredding, which lends the album the vast majority of its belligerent vibe. These vocals are very much inspired by American hardcore/post-hardcore punk vocal styles, similar to the likes of Fugazi, Rights of Spring and Black Flag, although the general sound of the album draws from a far more varied palette than hardcore punk. Whilst every track on the album is saturated with screaming vocals and thick, heavy guitars, certain tracks have other influences, such as Rhythm Revue, which exhibits a-typical 12-bar blues, and Blood is Thicker has a strong indie-pop guitars sound similar to that of The Womabts.
The mixture of various guitar music styles with a continues hardcore vocal somehow works, creating a new genre of hardcore punk & roll. It is clearly an album of influences however, and is retrospective even to the depth of tiny details, such as the creation date of the track audio files being dated at 29/11/1979. There is a degree of pretension in this respect, and This is the Computers difficult to digest without a degree of cynicism. At times it feels like they are trying too hard to allude themselves to a lost golden age of music.