‘5 Songs’ by Actual Crimes (EP)
Yet another glorious example of the thriving lo-fi scene can be heard on punk duo Actual Crimes’ excellent new EP
Lo-fi pop duo Actual Crimes are part of a thriving punk scene that includes luminaries such as Ethical Debating Society, Trust Fund and Alimony Hustle. And if those names have kept you reading, then the five tracks on offer here will keep you listening to the duo’s latest EP.
The most immediate observation is how close to the bone the production is. Sunny Day Real Estate are known as the melting heart of emo and Jawbreaker the spluttering guts, and it’s the later to whom the closest comparison can be drawn. Yet even Blake Schwarzenbach’s heroes rarely as sounded raw as We Shouldn’t Be Friends. Scene Screamer is of the same ilk, but survives on twisting rhythms rather than driving riffs.
Elsewhere, I’m Getting Better merges a slowed-down take on Joyce Manor’s blisteringly stripped-back pop-punk with vocals that recall dearly departed art punks Ikara Colt, while Trash shows that Actual Crimes’ upcoming support slot with Alimony Hustle will see a real meeting of musical minds. The brilliantly named closer When You Die I Will Like You is a stoic take on Heavens To Betsy’s cathartic riot grrrl indie-rock, with vocals reminiscent of cult queercore act Team Dresch.
5 Songs sticks closely to what Actual Crimes do best – thrashing and infectious lo-fi pop – and adopts a songwriting approach that leaves you wondering whether, if you cut the duo, they’d bleed punk-flecked pop melodies. The dual vocal approach is a real plus point too, helping to keep the songs fresh and giving the music a welcome sense of democracy. Punk’s DIY scene is thriving at the moment and 5 Songs is an example of the quality beating at its heart.
Verdict: Deliciously lo-fi punk-pop