by Dan Goldin (@post_trash_)
Freak Genes make cleverly deranged punk music for freaks, by freaks. Whether it's in their genes or acquired from years of dysfunctional ideas gone awry playing in bands (The Hipshakes, Proto Idiot, Red Cords, etc), the band's sophomore album Qwak Qwak is an undeniably great time. The duo of Andrew Anderson and Charlie Murphy, make garage punk with tight yet jittery dynamics, bending their wonky pop frames to their snapping points. It's quick, brash, and catchy, a riotous shout-a-long record that pulls no punches... but its really more a friendly ribbing than a punch.
Adopting synth noise and drum machines on tracks like "Give Way" and "Destroy," the Manchester duo expand their sound, finding new ways to push what is essentially pop music to its most agitating and primal. "It's Not There" wobbles caustically off-center, a dangerous and chaotic power-pop song that races to disorient. "Chemical Shift" is a bit of post-punk gold, a maddening display of their English roots with an appreciation for doubled near spoken/shouted vocals and buzzing riffs. There's a lose feeling as they bounce around from wall to wall as though Qwak Qwak was made in a padded room, but Freak Genes' structures are deceptively tight, embracing their weirdest pop inclinations with a reckless intelligence... but intelligence all the same.
Their bio reads, "their original inspiration was the Raincoats LP Odyshape. So far, they sound nothing like that." With Qwak Qwak's whip-smart explosive garage tunes, it's hard to imagine they ever will, and that's alright. It's a new dawn of freakiness.
Freak Genes' Qwak Qwak is out April 20th via Drunken Sailor Records.