A horrible hack

The Sissies


Year Released: 2019
Format: Tape
Label: self released
Reviewed by Samuel Rogers on Nov 11, 2019
Ten noisy tracks, eighteen rocking minutes. I’ve double- and triple-checked, but this record is definitely eighteen minutes. How can so much attitude and swagger be contained in that time? Punk frequently achieves so much with so little; this is certainly true of garage punk, which often skips political pondering, going straight for concise vitriol. The Sissies don’t have the 1960s psychedelic sound of the early garage revival. But they’ve got many of the calling cards which are now associated with the genre: stripped-back, energetic punk music; fuzzy guitar; lyrics about boredom, apathy, and rebellion; noisy vocals with buckets of seething angst.

Eric Davidson from the New Bomb Turks wrote a book about this kind of music, christening it “gunk punk”. There’s some real gunkiness on Milksop. The New Bomb Turks album, !!Destroy-Oh- Boy!! (1993), isn’t a million miles away. Neither is the lo-fi energy of the Reatards debut, Teenage Hate (1999). At a high point of the album, the singer sneers “I should do something, but I don’t care”. This high-energy apathy is a part of Jay Reatard’s legacy. But the Sissies aren’t following a blueprint. They break from the garage norm, with some high-brow spoken word (“I Don’t Care”) and a far-out, abstract title track. The biggest twist is how they mix their garage with a huge dose of hardcore. These guys are from San Antonio, so it’s fitting to hear echoes of classic Texas hardcore, reminiscent of The Dicks, Kill from the Heart (1983). Overall, this is a small shot glass of quality gunk. Fans of noisy punk rock will knock it back in one.

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