Noise Pollution is Good for You
2007, Lo-Fi, No Wave, Noise, Shearing Pinx

54. Something for the Weekend: Shearing Pinx “Scanner”

Shearing PInx "Ultrasnake" (2007)

Occasionally formless and brilliantly nonsensical, noise-rock’s tendency to avoid the trappings of its more radio-friendly cousin is always welcome.

Such is the lo-fi ethic of the genre, albums, split-singles and EP’s appear frequently, often on formats considered by the masses to be inferior, such as vinyl, tape cassettes and CDR’s.

The recordings are for the most part recorded quickly and end-up sounding very rough and untidy, but it would be a mistake to think lo-fi or noise-rock to be amateurish; these releases are very considered and deliberate.

If anything, noise-rock is No Wave’s child, all-grown-up. Expect flashes of Suicide, Lizzy Mercier Descloux and Lydia Lunch, albeit a little louder.

Admittedly, calling much of noise-rock “experimental” would be a bit of a push, considering a great deal of the genre follows rather basic musical structures.
However, it is the manner in which noise-rock is often recorded, that separates it from the crisp and clear leanings of commercially focused music.

A great deal of the genre’s lyrical focus is also highly political, most of which could be considered left-wing orientated; but like all genre’s, it is occasionally full of wonderful nonsense too.
Love strewn ballads rarely make an appearance. Nickelback, this ain’t – and thank goodness for that.

Formed six years ago, Vancouver-based band Shearing Pinx have proved themselves worthy exponents of noise-rock. With over fifty releases, the prolific nature of the group is, to a degree, an insight into thought process behind lo-fi and noise-rock recordings.
In a nutshell, the absolute pristine nature of radio/commercially focussed music is not the aim at all – getting the material recorded and made available to an audience quickly and simply, most certainly is.

Taken from their 2007 album Ultrasnake (released on the Isolated Now Waves label), “Scanner” is a prime example of Shearing Pinx’s oft punishing output – not to denigrate the band, of course, if anything, the group are marvellously draining, such is the intensity of their sound.

Luckily, I caught them live last year and such was their ferocity, it was as if I had been punched in the face repeatedly — in a good way, naturally.
As such, “Scanner” is a brief three-minute exercise in being aurally pummelled and it is quite fantastic.

For those who lament the decomposition of music into pure noise, fear not – there is much to love here and while comparison’s to the likes of Mars, Deerhunter or the recently disbanded Ponytail.

Shearing Pinx recently released a single, “Rituals”, which can be downloaded for free from their Bandcamp page. Ultrasnake can be bought on import from here.


About Leigh O'Gorman

Give me motor racing, music and Doctor Who anytime


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