CLAMM - Care (Meat Machine)
Credit: Gen Kay

CLAMM – Care (Meat Machine)

Melbourne’s power punk trio CLAMM definitely provide value for money on their second album Care with a whopping 15-track list. The album is out on Friday 19 August on Meat Machine. Power punk is absolutely the correct description for this, If you need a pick me up for any reason just stick this album on the turntable and turn up the volume to 11. CLAMM are unapologetically rebellious, loud and have a lot to say. The themes here are universal covering the incompetence of politicians to consumerism and personal struggles.

Opening track ‘Scheme‘ lays down the intent. A flash chord of reverb and we’re off. Fast, raucous with thunderous drums and a punk fuelled vocal. “and the people outside they don’t care about nothing. It’s just a scheme.” Previous single ‘Bit Much‘ is the first CLAMM track to feature the bass and backing vocals of newest member Maisie Everett. This adds another dimension to the vocal, an echoey layer which builds on the sense of urgency.

On ‘Something New‘ the lead vocal of Jack Summers gets increasingly frantic and frustrated as the track progresses.  CLAMM uphold an ethos of anti-violence, anti-materialism, mental health awareness and a fight for social justice in the face of widespread complicity and incompetent, selfish leaders. 
“Well I’m trying to find a reason,
I’m trying to find a sign.
Well I’ve been looking for the answer,
But I’ve been running out of time.”

Thrown into the punk aesthetic is the saxophone of Anna Gordon, and what a glorious skonking addition it is.  It adds to the raw, unrelenting and increasingly raucousness of ‘Something New’.  The song closes out with ear-piercing static and reverb, as uncompromising as it is uncomfortable. A highlight on the album it was also a single.

‘Buy’ spits out its disdain of consumerism. Listing various challenges we all face including recession and Covid, there is still that pressure to buy. It closes out with a metronomic repetition of “buy buy buy buy” emphasizing this constant push. In a similar vein ‘Monday‘ focuses on the monotony of work, but work for the sake of earning money. The rat race if you will. Listing what is not wanted is liberating and frees the shackles. Its a shared shouting vocals here and the pace is more stomping.

Guitarist/vocalist Jack Summers and drummer Mile Harding were best friends since primary school and alongwith newest member Maisie are the trio that is CLAMM. ‘Done It Myself’, ‘That Way‘, ‘I Can Do It’ and ‘Make Time’ all reference the individual. Proclaiming a DIY ethos with shredding guitars, stating “That way doesn’t have to be this way”, positive affirmation while recognising “I think I’m overthinking. Yes I think I’m overthinking. And the questions I get. I can do it. I can do it. I can do it.” and on ‘Make Time’ a reminder of the importance of self care. This is my favourite track on this packed album, with its key changes, electric guitars and blasts of skonking saxophone chaos and pounding drums.

Title track ‘Care’ screeches at its start and blasts off. “They can’t tell us what to say. If only listening was a part of the government’s way.” A damning statement on the state of the nation and a chaotic saxophone mid-track which adds to the fury. Repetition of “lies” hits home, hard. This is followed by the foreboding mood of ‘Fearmonger’. It rumbles along, tense and dark but you know its not going to last. The spreading of fear is encapsulated in this soundscape, especially with the screeching saxophone in the background. But you know its not going to last as the pace winds back up. ‘Global‘ is the shortest track on the album at just over a minute and takes the listener straight into the repetitive banger that is ‘NRG‘. The latter track gives you energy simply by listening to it – trust me.

‘Incompetence’ is another standout track. Hard-hitting and throwing punches at the government, its gut-wrenching in its lyrics and the music accompanies such crushing disappointment in leaders with an increasing anger which grows in volume.
“How can we go on ignoring our history.
Justify your treatment of First Nations.”
“Incompetence, taxes, elected to represent.
Incompetence, taxes, a service to protect.”

Symphony’ closes out this album, with CLAMM still raging, still furious and still creating earth-shattering punk rock. This is not an album of 15 identical tracks but has variety in its themes and its delivery. However, to be clear, what you won’t find is any shoegaze or slow melancholy. CLAMM are too outspoken for that, and Care is all the better for it.

For more information on CLAMM please check out their facebook and bandcamp.


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