CLAMM – Care

  • Peter Hough posted
  • Reviews


Care - Chapter Music / Meat Machine

What the fuck is going on with Australia these days? Seemingly all of a sudden, loads of great bands are emerging into the spotlight. Maybe they were always there. Maybe it’s irrelevant where the music originates from. But scenes and vibes matter. CLAMM have already played with Amyl & the Sniffers, The Chats, Cash Savage and the Murlocs, and played Yours & Owls Festival and Melbourne Music Week. That’s a strong pedigree for a rising band.


Which brings us to Care, the Melbourne punk power trio CLAMM‘s turbulent new full-length released recently. Another lockdown project realised in a time of stress and chaos and there’s a strong sense of rage and change in the sonic landscape. Recorded at Rolling Stock and Sound Park Studios with Nao Anzai (NO ZU, Cash Savage, Rolling Blackouts), with Nao contributing synth on the album and onstage, this is a dark and brutal piece of work that also has moments of glorious pop sensibility, shot through with dark and anguished howls of feedback, amp noise and grating atonal sax work courtesy of saxophonist Anna Gordon (Mangelwurzel).


Care kicks off with Scheme, a strong and unrepresentative melodic driving stomper that sets the tone for what’s to follow. This theme is continued in Bit Much and it’s another slice of hi-energy, thunderous super fuzzed-out punk with a deliciously ferocious chorus.It’s not all frantic riffing, however. Something New dials back the tempo but ups the dark energy. Buy is oddly reminiscent of Dr Feelgood‘s Milk & Alcohol in parts of its chord structure, a brutal stylistic mash-up of classic R&B with rocket-fuelled punk power. I’m not sure if it’s right to have a favourite track, but maybe the best summary of CLAMM‘s methodology is the mighty Monday on which new bassist Maisie Everett (Belair Lip Bombs) share a frantic vocal over an urgent guitar motif. Almost powerpop, but definitely punk.

Punk Rock Riot

This album is a glorious ride that swerves from almost rock (Done it Myself) through classic politically-charged punk (Care, Global, NRG, That Way, Make Time, Incompetence). There’s a kinship with the second wave of British punk here, with a nod to UK Decay and Discharge. The band are also adventurous. I Can Do It features an odd time signature and atonal damped, scraping guitar. CLAMM can also do sinister and grinding – Fearmonger builds to a sax-riddled crescendo.

Care is massive without being overproduced. The feedback and static crackle lend a veracity to the recordings that hint that this is a band that are brutal live but have managed that coolest trick of capturing that energy in the studio without dilution or compromise. Over everything, Jack Summers‘ impassioned and heavily-reverbed vocals soar without dominating the mix. A fine piece of work from an accomplished and self-confident band; a confidence that is definitely not misplaced.

Do The Pop

Care is out now on Chapter Music in Australia, New Zealand and North & South America and by Meat Machine in the UK, Europe and Asia.