This album is like a hammer to the skull, and I mean that in the best possible way. Funny Games, out now via the superb PNKSLM label, is the debut full-length release from Sweden's Gestures. This is a punishing and oddly invigorating record, one that reaffirms the label's adept skill at tapping into some arcane rock-and-roll magic time and time again.
Funny Games opens with "Dialogue", a number whose lyrics are mainly "Shut the fuck up!" roared over and over as the guitars roar by, while the next song, the brief "Don't Know, Don't Care", marries a surf rock riff to the sort of vocal performance Iggy would have killed to give in his youth. The effect here is enormously cathartic and one's tempted to just play these first 2 cuts on Funny Games over and over before surveying the rest of the record.
Still, there's more here than just pummeling hooks. The title cut blends flashes of the sort of melodic invention one found on albums 3 and 4 from The Ramones, while the subtly surging "This Town" marries some grunge-y attitude with sharp playing from these musicians. Elsewhere, "We Must Bleed" imagines Joy Division as a speed punk band, while the pulsing "It Comes At Night" bears the faintest traces of The Sex Pistols about it, rough edges made razor-sharp and precise.
Funny Games is an amazingly great slab of a certain kind of indie rock that suggests nothing so much as the freedom of absolute chaos. For all the precision in the riffs on Funny Games, one senses only bad intent in these grooves. The folks at PNKSLM have captured something unsavory here and it's a glorious, beastly thing, this Gestures form of music.
Funny Games is out now via PNKSLM.
[Photo: Olle Forsberg]