Dalston’s Male Bonding have a point even amid all their lo-fi noise-pop confusion. And as the thirteen tracks on their debut album ‘Nothing Hurts’ demonstrate, getting to that point in around two-and-a-half minutes of hazy, high energy pop hooks and tinnitus is the best way to grab your demographic by the aural balls. As far as manifestos go, it’s a pretty engaging listen clocking in at a ferocious 29-minutes, especially when considering the recent coverage of ‘The Ministerial Debate’ may have produced just as much white noise and confusion over a total of 270-minutes.
Opener ‘Year’s Not Long’ jitters like a finger on the cusp of a trigger, as the three-piece fire instrumental hooks over a spectral vocal melody low in the mix. You can almost hear the ghosts of C86-era bands like The Shop Assistants haunt their stereo sound, with all their spirit and resonance spluttered into one recording mic for a genuine DIY feel.
‘All Things This Way’, ‘Pumpkin’, ‘Weird Feelings’ all kick with a similarly paranoid no wave efficacy, blurring the sound and sentiment of early Nirvana, Seafood, Wavves and Japandroids.
But where they have a habit of shafting your eardrums with overwrought punk-come-shoegaze mangling of pop in all its colour and charm, they also have a knack for taking it down a notch, too. ‘Franklin’ and ‘Worse to Come’ (featuring Vivian Girls) touch upon a more contemplative and brooding sound, with the latter floating on an empyreal cloud of foggy vocals and acoustic guitar.
‘Nothing Hurts’ is an astute and schizophrenic debut, built on hooks, melodies and instrumentation that sound like they have been dragged through a bush and then spluttered out of an exhaust pipe filled with sugar. And all the better for it.