Someone once told me that the inside of your skull isn’t smooth, but is actually full of small spikes and rough bumps. For years afterward, I feared head banging, imagining puncture wounds in my brain hemorrhaging blood and brain cells – whole memories or ideas escaping, lost in the fluids cushioning my mind.
I have no idea if the tale of spiked skull innards is accurate, but even if it is, I doubt the Pygmy Shrews care. Their latest record, You People Can All Go Straight to Hell, is a mind-numbing, high-energy punk rock record, timeless in its fury, frustration, and fuck you attitude. Each track hits 11 and involuntarily induces head banging, moshing, and flailing of the arms. Puncture wounds? Fuck that. This record aims to tear your skull in half with its ceaseless strumming and grinding chaos.
Machine gun drums and repetitive chords mixed with distorted screaming vocals create a mad frenzy that’s meant to be unintelligible and relentless. The opening track, “No Supplies,” seems almost calm by comparison, chugging out a sludgy guitar riff that sounds like it belongs in the title sequence of an outlaw biker movie. Destined for dirty basement parties of darkened souls, You People Can All Go Straight to Hell ends with a twelve minute-long epic, “Fuck the Law,” that’s almost certain to cause a riot or collapse. “Fuck the Law” caps off the album with screeching guitars, more uncaged on this track than the rest, and a jaw-dropping longevity sustained by little more than tear-this-building-down rage – lyrics almost completely absent.
You People Can All Go Straight to Hell is filled to the brim with the big and the bad, but there’s little to grab hold of lyrically. A study in a single mood, this Pygmy Shrews album takes you by force but hardly leaves a mark behind; it incites a personal release instead of making its own impression.
You People Can All Go Straight to Hell is less a threat than an invitation; a one-way ticket to thick badness and twenty-five minutes of raunchy, violent turmoil. Enjoy irresponsibly.