‘Nature/Nurture’, album number four from Australian punk rockers Clowns, not only sees the band further shape their unique twist on a well-worn genre but also get a (clown-sized?) shoe in the door of the mainstream by signing with Fat Wreck for distribution outside of Australia/New Zealand.
Not being what you might call “your typical Fat Wreck type of band”, I had feared that signing for such a well-known label might have meant that Clowns would be required to come up with more commercial tracks to suit their new paymasters, however it takes just a few bars of the explosive opener ‘Bland Is The New Black’ to put my mind at rest that this is certainly not the case. This is the sound of one angry bunch of muthafuckers as Stevie Williams spits out the lyrics with just as much venom and intensity, as he did on the band’s corrosive ‘I’m Not Right’ debut.
In the six years that have passed since that amazing debut album first impressed the hell out of most of us back over at our old Uber Rock haunt, Clowns have certainly broadened their palette of sound and in many ways ‘Freezing In The Sun’ (the lead single from the album which I first saw live back at last year’s Rebellion Festival) is the benchmark by which they are likely to be measured on subsequent releases. Largely because this track is the perfect example of how to play heart and soul punk rock music whilst adding your own identity into the mix.
I’ll admit there’s a moment during the intro to ‘I Feel Again’ where I fear that the five-piece may have taken the “light” (in their light and shade sound) a little too far and during the aural onslaught that is ‘May I Be Exhumed?’ they perhaps go a little too dark, but you know what, in the context of the album it all fits together perfectly, and that ladies and gentlemen is what makes ‘Nature/Nurture’ such a thrilling listen.
Influences fly at you thick and fast just like the eleven tracks that make up the album’s 35 minutes running time and you’d be pretty ambivalent to what constitutes great music if you didn’t get reminded of bands like The Bronx, Fucked Up, The Explosion or (yes I admit it) Jane’s Addiction along the way. The thing is Clowns don’t merely imitate these great bands they innovate and that is what makes them oh so special, whilst only adding to the ‘Nature/Nurture’ debate you could have about the band themselves.
Whether it’s the brutal Clowns of old that you are looking for (in which case check out ‘1:19’, ‘Soul For Sale’ or ‘Prick’) or the more “polished” Clowns of 2019 (which is perhaps best exemplified by album closer ‘Nurture’ which even contains a hint of The Verve about it) this a record designed to make you stop in your tracks and think. This is music for people who want to change the world, and if one listen to ‘Nature/Nurture’ doesn’t immediately make you appreciate these guys are the real future of rock music in 2019 then you might as well just go buy a fucking Greta Van Hire (or whatever the fuck they are called) album instead.
‘Nature/Nurture’ is quite simply essential listening.
Buy Nature Nurture Here
Author: Johnny Hayward