The Computers are a band currently tearing up the U.K. scene, with their white hot blend of Bronx-ian hardcore and late '50s rock ’n’ roll, great live show and singles that somehow got played on daytime radio getting more and more attention In 2011 they toured Europe, supported some of the best bands around and released this great debut I’m reviewing here.
The west-country residents could be dismissed as a one trick wonder, wearing matching suits and playing raucous punk-charged rhythm and blues, but there’s more to their sound than that. “Rhythm Revue” is one to dance to like a madman, with screeching singer Screamin’ Al Kershaw’s, erm, scream, coming across as more James Brown than Denis Lynxsen. But then, on the other hand, there’s a modern feel to the album elsewhere. The trudging, angular, nasty riffage of “Hot Damnocles” gives way to a slowed down jive on the chorus, with Al’s vocals now giving out aggression as well as swagger; it would be a better fit on The Shape of Punk to Come than Live at the Star Club.
Elsewhere, there is “I’ve Got What it Takes (Part 3),” sounding like the Kinks by way of modern hardcore punk, the mid-tempo rocker “Group Identity” with its simple, primal punk riff and barked refrain, the quick, sloppy hardcore of “Where Do I Fit In?” and the heavy blues stomp of “The Queen in 3D.” In true punk fashion, despite the usually danceable nature of the music the lyrics have a darker edge to them, and are delightfully foul mouthed; “Lovers Lovers Lovers” tells of having “been down in the den of serpents and lions / closed my eyes and been to sleep with other liars,” adding, “oh fucking hell it’s impossible it seems like there are too many of you.” This contrast between music to do a little jig to, and dissonance and upset, makes This is… compelling as well as fun; not that the Computers are miserable bastards though, the band maintains a sense of humor and tells us “it ain’t no fun when you’re just making do / spend a little time at the rhythm revue!”
The album’s production and recording suits the music perfectly. The front cover states, “recorded in stereo, direct to tape,” and the sound is suitably raw, without being overly lo-fi or muffled, catching the vigor and skill of the playing as well as the vibes and energy of the songs perfectly.
This should have been reviewed much earlier on here, as it’s a great album, packing in what I love about rock and roll into less than half-an-hour; it’s also fantastic that they’ve had a few spins on the radio, some award nominations and decent coverage. If punk is going to fall into the public eye again, then the Computers would be a great ambassador for the British scene.