I am fascinated by this Internet art project. It’s called Apomogy. The premise is as old as time, with a more modern twist; send your regrets, apologies and secret confessions to an anonymous inbox address and have them handwritten and affixed to a pom-pom. It’s a chance to be a teenager again, or perhaps to be a more responsible adult, and predictably, 90% of the phrases are associated with love. The real curiosity is having a birds-eye view of the various ways in which people, once totally enamoured of one another, can also cause devastating amounts of pain. The brightly coloured orbs serve to soften the blow, but if anything, to me they illuminate how nothing is perfect, and that perhaps a pursuit of a relationship with rough edges is more realistic. The confessional nature of Apomogy is writ large and fast across ‘Headwreck’, the very first recorded song from a new-ish Melbourne quartet. It is loud and it is messy, like an pom-pom turned inside out, its guts bleeding all over the floor. It’s become a bedrock of my listening over the past few weeks, as I realise that when you can’t rely on your own feelings, you can definitely turn to furious punk to help articulate them.
A song about self-respect after a romance gone South, ‘Headwreck’ does what it says on the tin, flying through a lifetime in under three minutes. Press Club is part of a coterie of Australian bands bringing back the sort of ferocity of sound that has been in retreat as festivals like Big Day Out and Soundwave have disappeared. Outfits like Ceres and Smith Street Band, through to Tired Lion, Waax and the imitable Luca Brasi preference bleeding eardrums and sweaty moshpits above all else. But the stories they tell feel immediately real; spiky apomogies. What I love about ‘Headwreck’, which sounds like it was recorded as quickly as its played, is the hurt you can feel coming through in singer Natalie Foster’s melody. Her vocal seems to be pushing against the limitations of the microphone, sizzling and raw. It helps elevate the song from being just another throwaway into something lasting, one of those golden crossovers every good band has where you want to dance in front of the mirror as much as you want to kick it in.
Listening to this tune makes me realise not only that I don’t go to enough rock shows and get really into it, but that I’ve been spending years writing one Apomogy after another instead of getting out there and yelling them before they become past tense. For as much as ‘Headwreck’, which its insistent open hi-hats pulsing away underneath fuzzed-out guitars, is about relationships, it’s also about the individual. ‘I hate it but I’m not complaining/I’m still chasing/Don’t be that guy’, screams Foster at the end of a particularly delicious break that can’t last more than a beat. It’s those moments where punk succeeds on a level nothing else can, being able to carve out tiny brackets of silence among the noise with technical mastery. It isn’t properly quiet though. You can still hear the echoes of what happened only a millisecond before, and what’s yet to come. The feel comes back on the second beat instead of the first. A new verse with only drums and bass. We fall in love at the wrong time, with the right people and with the right people and the wrong time.
Life is unpredictable and we all make mistakes. Thank God for punk rock and pom-poms.