The Dissociates - Drown This Town (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Dissociates

Drown This Town (2011)

Safety Second

My first encounter with London's the Dissociates came in the sardine can-like atmosphere found in what is known as the Bottle Bar in Plymouth's White Rabbit venue. This is like an anti-room to the main venue and holds around 100 people, so it's really up close and personal when full–as it was during the time of this story. The Dissociates were supporting local favourites Crazy Arm, and to be honest it was the latter I was there to see. However, nothing had prepared me for the awesomeness of the Dissociates' brand of punk/post-punk, as it really did have that something you so often want from bands in a live setting–the ability to make you realise you've just seen a really good band worthy of your continued interest and support.

Therefore, this new five-track EP is one of the more welcomed releases of 2011, as I was really interested to see how they would manage to take the explosive live sound/presence and put it down for a recorded output.

With an impressive opener in "Under Heavy Manners", the Dissociates hit the ground running and never let up, reaching the heights with the excellent middle track, "Kick and Shove", which was available earlier this year on a two-track taster for this release. This is an extremely impressive EP and one which should see the band propelled to a level of popularity that their friends in Crazy Arm currently enjoy. In fact, the track "On the Motorway" has many of the hallmarks of a Crazy Arm song, even down to Dan Stevens, at times, sounding vocally a bit like Darren Johns.

Two of the bands that come to mind when I listen to this are Franz Ferdinand and Radio 4. I'm far from being a big fan of the former but there are elements that are comparable, with an occasional jerky, staccato approach that is also not that dissimilar from what Gang of Four do. To take it one step further, it's not that hard to think of the Minutemen as well when listening to these five songs. Add that to the more obvious straightforward punk of the Clash and the early mod/punk sound of the Jam, and this gives some indication of the comprehensive and inclusive sound that the Dissociates have, all delivered with an abundance of energy, fervour and explosiveness that is impossible to ignore.

For me, there is only one city that they could come from as the music has "London" written all over it (and not in a negative way at all) as the music kicks and snarls whilst maintaining a melodic quality that provides a perfect counterbalance to all of the angst contained within the songs. With bands such as rhe Dissociates and Pettybone, it is evident that punk (in its many guises), both as a source of protest songs and entertainment, has a firm presence in England's capital city.

This is the best EP of the year so far, and for those of you interested in it you will find it available from Bandcamp, iTunes and Spotify.

Some people might notice that two of the tracks here have previously been released on the Waiting for the Backlash six-tracker that came out last year–I'm not too sure why they've done this, and as I write I've not heard that CD, so they could be improved versions?