With the distance and distortion of time, the image that punk has left in most people’s minds is one of studded leather jackets and spiked hair, humourless rabble-rousing and a whiff, often more than just a whiff, of violence. But that is the problem with rose-tinted nostalgia, it is rarely the whole picture. And although there were markedly different versions of punk brewing on both sides of the Atlantic throughout the seventies, there was more that united the two scenes than divided it. Especially sonically.
Punk was often an extension of rock and roll, or sometimes pop, just pushed to extremes, an amphetamine rush of addictive swagger and infectious melodies, the perfect blend of attitude and accessibility. It was outsiders making music for outsiders, it spoke its own language but more importantly, it was fun. What came latter may have left a cultural impression, but it is the earlier sonic pioneers which were the real goldmine.
And The Nearly Deads know this. You can hear it in the music. They remember the energy, they remember the attitude but most of all they remember the laughs. Punk Rock Kitty Cat is driven by rhythmic guitar licks, solid backbeats, and euphoric energy and is spearheaded by Theresa Jeane’s in-your-face vocal prowess. Like all of the best songs, it gets in there, gets the job done and knows when to leave. No fuss, no showboating, no ego. It is short, sharp and shockingly good.
And what it also revels in is exuberance. From the lyrical puns and feline references to the additional cat sound samples, it makes it clear that their music is fun and not to be taken seriously. But that is what makes if such serious fun, no hidden meanings, no poignant message, just music to let off steam to. And when did we ever not need some of that?
Thanks to The Nearly Deads, it would seem that low-slung, foot on the monitor, fist in the air, good time rock and roll is back on the menu.