Clean Girls – Despite You

Really can’t remember how we came across this.  It’s a mystery that will likely never be solved, a blank spot in a memoir that will confuse scholars for centuries until that one, depraved individual does the right digging and pulls the corpse of the answer from out of its decaying tomb with “who the hell cares” chiseled into the lid.  How did it happen?  Was it some tag hopping on Bandcamp?  A link?  A promo submission we forgot about somewhere in email trash limbo?  A chance glance at the awesome art?  No idea, so we’ll stop the struggle, no sense in trying to figure out how this came to our attention, it just did.  It’s been in the back of our head for weeks and in desperate need of a review.  Original punk’s been around for so long it might as well be called ancient school, so today we figured we’d take off those mummy wrappings and move on to the modern.  We wanted it noisy, plain and simple, that old punk filth aggression that lost its vibe and died horribly with the release of Cyberpunk.  The best things are those things which the mainstream simply doesn’t get, can’t get, or at least can’t make money off of.


Which brings us to Clean Girls, a three-piece primarily making chaos, not money, in Brooklyn, though their Facebook page seems to indicate some attachment to Virginia, and hey that’s where we’re from come on over.  Anyway, since that probably won’t happen let’s talk about reality, the music.  Clean Girls has been making modern punk of the noisier variety since roughly 2010, but in the past three years they’ve degraded themselves even further than the norm, taking apart the punk to find the interior power source, the original energy that made it such a spent-vein addiction when it first rose from the love-not-war-time-for-a-job-I-have-a-kid-shit 1960s detritus of parenting.  But all of that was too refined over time the further it was accepted, and we needed back that which made it so antagonistic.  We’ve encountered a few cases of it in this era of diffusion, but there needs to be more, so much more.  What the world needs are more bands like Clean Girls.


They say it best themselves, their instruments are not so much played as they are beaten.  And through this they create a beautiful aesthetic out of the amateur, taking the aggressive, care-not energy of someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing and making it tantalizing.  And that’s the key here, for Clean Girls succeed in chaos where few have been able.  There’s an extremely complex method to sounding like this, because most bands are going to only sound thrilling to the most extreme of obscurity collectors.  “Oh, this tape only had a release of 10?  It is thus good.”  To really leap over that chasm to the other side where can be found legitimate fans, you need to build around chaos a sense of order, as though it all makes sense, somehow, which Despite You has done entirely.  The guitar/bass, if you can call them that, sound broken with strings detached, the drums pour out so much cymbal it practically turns into TV static, and the vocals are delivered at an angry, overdriven level that sounds like a teenager with legitimate gripes spitting them out of a Mr. Microphone that’s been soaked in toilet water.  Taken separately each piece would likely sound like someone who picked up said instrument for the very first time, or a cassette recording in someone’s room with nothing better to do but make noise until mom turns off the power.  But when it’s brought together, as you’ll find with Despite You as well as Clean Girls’ other releases, sometimes a band knows how to make it intelligible.  Absolutely addicting, energy supreme, chaos molded into a feasible form.  If you’re looking for the pungent bite that made old punk such a success, but you don’t want anyone involved but you and the few who “get it”, let Clean Girls get you nice and dirty.


Clean Girls Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Clean Girls: Despite You
Accidental Guest Recordings
4.5 / 5