You Me And The Atom Bomb
Demo - ‘For All The People Trying’
by Armchair Anarchist
According to the hand-made sleeve notes this demo CD was recorded ‘live’ (i.e. no multitracking, overdubs or punch-in edits) at YMATAB’s second practice session. This lo-fi DIY ethic informs both the music and the lyrics. But lo-fi doesn’t have to equate with low-skill, as this CD proudly demonstrates. The five tracks bristle with brashly anthemic bluster, with all but one clocking in at under three minutes. They offer a curiously British take on old school New York hardcore, eschewing the hard-man posturing for a celebration of independent ethics and a dismissal of commercialised guitar pop. The vocals are gruff but clear, with faint harmonies from the other players. The guitar is bright and crispy; tough yet cheery riffs seem to lead the other instruments, including the drums from time to time. The bass plays clean melodic lines and the songs include plenty of pace changes along with a healthy sense of enjoyment. The timing is a little sloppy at a few points. But considering the recording methods and the short life of the band before laying down this demo, this merely lends the CD the atmosphere of seeing an energetic band in a small pub venue. The lyrics and the overall sound all hark back to the pre-millenial days before ‘alternative music’ became just another marketing demographic. It’s not a new or innovative sound but it’s very self-assured, with a middle finger firmly raised to fashion and fads. It’s a calculated spit-in-the-eye at an industry that worships surface over substance. It’s also an homage to transit-van bands who hold down full-time jobs and still play gigs for fun and petrol money. Rather than making it a dreary self-righteous tirade, YMATAB make it instead a celebratory pogo-festival. But they’re not doing it ‘for the kids’, they’re doing it for themselves. If ‘the kids’ happen to like it, well, that’s an added bonus. These are the sort of quick-fire punk songs that can make anything, even doing the housework, a kind of life-affirming experience. Just mind your head on the lampshades.