Mar 12, 2012, 06:29AM

The Song Remains the Same

White Load’s Alzheimer’s-grade punk.

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Hardcore is the premature-ejaculation of punk; if the sub-genre’s actually about anything, it’s hitting the re-set button early and often enough to avoid leaving fingerprints on corpses. Briskly unmemorable and unsentimentally abrupt, it wears its own obsolescence as a badge of honor. Hardcore is violence, technique and finesse, but maybe more significantly, hardcore is anonymity: generic fury as its own virtuoso reward.

Wayne’s World III b/w Godfather IV (Load), the debut LP from Providence, Rhode Island trio White Load, is textbook hardcore: lacerating chord-crunches, seared-larynx screams, riot-worthy stampedes, combative asides. Whoever these guys are (they’re not volunteering first names), they cram 25 songs in 20 confusing minutes. The song titles—“Note Note Note Note,” “Fashionable Prostitute,” “Hide Your Face,” the album name itself—are pro forma obnoxious but as contextually meaningless as the music itself is. Everything’s mangled, mangy and inchoate.

Two conflicting impulses are at play here: a willful self-negation and an impulse to jerk off in the genre wading pool. Beaters like “Milpool,” the sub-Stiff Little Fingers sneer “Barbara Ann,” and “Prostitute,” where the singer’s bloviated angst manifests itself in a Satanic scat routine are more exception than rule, and the same handful of chords are resurrected so frequently from shit fit to shit fit that it’s next to impossible to say just where you are in this LP at any given moment. But while “Steve’s Dick Jam” clocks in at an 30 abrupt seconds and boasts the least comprehensible sentiments this side of a Coke Bust single, its ripcord riff is red, red meat—and halfway through White Load downshift into a cocksure variation of that riff, just because they can. “Aisles” opens with 17 seconds of drum thrash before the rest of the band careens in for some no-fi Wire shenanigans; “Party” is like the Cliff’s Notes version of Nirvana’s Incesticide. Intros are all over World, and I don’t mean some dude belligerently bellowing an anarchist bumper-sticker slogan: “Nothing Is Funny” and “Public Suicide” gnash along on startlingly even keels before their accompanying vocals kick the bucking-bronco tunes into higher gears.

So White Load are hardcore, and at the same time they’re also kind of beyond it: hiding in plain sight musically, there without really existing. If you’re listening—not just hearing, mind you—this dissonance is their allure.


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