Male Bonding: Nothing Hurts | CD review

(Sub Pop)

John Peel used to talk approvingly of records that sounded as if they had made themselves – referring to music so unbridled that the guitars seemed to have wrested control of themselves back from their human owners. The debut album from London three-piece Male Bonding is one such record. Like the Canadian duo Japandroids, they are looking back to the early 90s for inspiration, to the overdriven-yet-blurry guitar sound J Mascis brought to bear with Dinosaur Jr. There's also a sense of hardcore punk attack when they're playing at pace, as on opener Year's Not Long – so all boxes are ticked for those who like noise and aggression. But there's also real tunefulness here: Weird Feelings lifts its topline melody from Please Please Me by the Beatles; TUFF bounds around on a riff that's implausibly exciting; and Nothing Used to Hurt could be calmed down into a terrific Ash single. It's hard to make such familiar ingredients feel fresh, but the sheer zest Male Bonding bring to bear can make even the most jaded palates tingle.


Michael Hann

The GuardianTramp

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