SOVIET VALVES - Death Trumps Romance LP
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!!! In their short lifespan, Perth’s Soviet Valves managed to play a swag of local shows and produce a couple EPs and a 7” (later released on US label Smart Guy) that generated some interest and positive reviews on a few average-looking GeoCities websites. It all ended when singer Milos upped for London in 2005, but not before the bassless power-punk outfit entered a rehearsal room and recorded nine tracks – six which have just been released on Perth label Vertex. It’s appropriate that the first song (and one of the band’s earliest) is called ‘Zip’, as there’s nothing too complicated in the approach besides fast and buzzy. But like a band such as Royal Headache, there are heavy doses of melody and an acute pop sensibility without losing any of the scrappy punk feel. The guitar on ‘Washer Woman’ in particular has the same treble feel as Royal Headache’s Lawrence Hall, and Milos spits out vocals fast and furious. While the Buzzcocks were rightly referenced in early reviews on this recording, you get a feel of Singles Going Steady as well as large slices of The Feelies and of early-’80s Austin punks the Big Boys. Such is the case with the urgent vocal delivery on album highlight ‘Carrion Luggage’, the two guitars racing to outdo each other. The title track has more of Milo’s urgent yowling and howling backed by James Vinciguerra’s fast – verging on berserk – drumming, understandable considering he had previously played in mostly hardcore bands. The intervening years has seen Vinciguerra go on to Total Control and Lace Curtain, guitarist Predrag ‘Pex’ Delibasic in Bamodi and smRts and Milos settling in London, where he started the synth-based Tough Troubles before moving back to Sydney. While all these projects veered considerably from the scrappy pop of Soviet Valves, they retain the punk energy and approach captured on this record.