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January 11, 2010

Shearing Pinx – Weaponry (Divorce)

The world doesn’t yet know much about this band, but they’re up to something important. Canada still doesn’t know about them either, really, despite the fact that they’re one of the hardest-working groups on the scene these days. Through repeated touring of North America and a constant stream of recordings this Vancouver trio is building a following and, furthermore, currently helping to define the fringe in this country.

Weaponry is the band’s second effort for Halifax’s Divorce Records, after 2007’s “Negaman” 45, and it follows 2008’s excellent (Endless Latino-released) Ultra Snake LP. Unlike said LP, though, which had mostly consistent 2-3 minute bashings, this latest one has a number of shorter tracks interspersed among some longer ones. The latter are more of the killer, twisted punk tunes the group is so good at, and are some of the best stabs thereat that they’ve come up with to date, while the short tracks are among the more abrasive attacks they’ve put down; attacks so pointed and caustic that they needn’t be extended beyond their thirty-to-forty-second running times. Don’t bother approaching this record if you’re not into serious abrasion, as even at its most melodic and rockin’ it gives nothing but. The band’s formula remains the same: echoey, yelping vocals, plus smashing drums that are used more as an instrument than as a rhythmic anchor or time-keeper, and guitars adding the sear.

This release represents some nice convergence in the Canadian underground, namely between band and label, coast and coast, and it also features artwork by Rick White. It is an impressively fierce record, done on four-track by the band themselves, and is only part one of a two-part effort, the second of which, to be expected sometime later this year on Divorce, is in the works now.

There are two sides to this band that need to be reckoned with: the no wave-ish side and the free noise side. Oftentimes, they go back and forth, managing a fusion of the two that most other groups never do. On most of the studio recordings they’ve done, the loud, jagged punk group is presented mainly, while the noisier exploration is reserved more for the live shows and the band’s numerous cassette/CD-R releases. Weaponry delivers both sides of Shearing Pinx in perhaps the best measure yet. It’s a record made by a group totally on and getting even better, which is very exciting, as this group already wrecks and leaves behind what a lot of other bands do. They’re not going to please everyone, of course, but there’s no way one can overlook them in the contemporary Canadian context.

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