John Lennon once said “Records, like newspapers should be released as soon as they are recorded.” He was clearly foreshadowing /./:././:/, pronounced ONETHREEONETWO. /./:././:/
is a band featuring members of Brighton’s punk outfit Austerity. Their 2019 debut self-titled album was as terrifying as it was exciting. Minimalist, crypto-situationist, disjointed post-punk with monotone spoken word vocals was the order of the day, whilst lyrically discussing Marx, smashing the hegemony and extreme hedonism. Now they’ve returned with their follow up Spectral Spaces. This is another slab of DIY bedroom punk with stiff anti-funk vibes.
The most politically leaning tracks on Spectral Spaces are ‘The Cynic and the Deconstructionist‘, ‘Black Bloc Romance’ and ‘The Portslade Psychogeographical Society Anthem’, as the band discuss anti-fascist activism, dreaming of molotovs and taking part in derives over a backing track of lo-fi ad-hoc guitar riffs and polyrhythmic drumming. It’s these funky motifs that give /./:././:/ room to ruminate on the modern world. Given these political outpourings, the standout tracks are the instrumentals. ‘Spectral Spaces’, ‘La Lutte Continue’, and ‘Extended Grayscale Koschmische Musik of the Educated Proletarian Post-Brexit Millenial Diaspora’. Here /./:././:/ really get to stretch their muscles and create wonky soundscapes that add post-dubstep flourishes to their punk aesthetic. The album closes with ‘Luxury / Poverty (We Worship the Pound)’ a cynical attack on Brexit Britain. Here the band spout about how country has gone to the dogs but we’re svelte as we go to the gym regularly, so we’re ok with it. “On the side of the bus they lied”, “The country is fucked” and “Luxury. Poverty. We worship the pound” is repeated like an unhinged mantra. And this is the real crux of what /./:././:/ do well. They find their topic, then just repeat the message, in a loop, like a Stewart Lee punchline. But like Lee this really hammers home their stark viewpoint.
Compared to the self-titled debut, ‘Spectral Spaces’ is all over the shop. The songs jump from the ad-hoc post-punk of their debut to crooked electronica and post-dubstep . At times, some of the songs feel like rough sketches, or sound poems, but there is a method to the madness.
‘Spectral Spaces’ is an album that was written and recorded in one day. Yes, I know. Given the complexity of some of the songs this is remarkable. The frenzied nature of the recordings gives the album an immediate feel. The songs feel like they were rehearsed enough to record then it was on to the next one. Yes there are parts that don’t work as well as they should, or go on a bit too long, but there is something going on here that has to be admired.