Public Eye’s second album ‘Music For Leisure’. Written in the wake of the US presidential election in 2016, and surrounded by the sinister political voices that seemingly felt legitimised by Trump, it’s the sound of fury, Boredom, Alienation, exercised through repetitive solid basslines, raw guitar stabs that loop (‘Awful Questions’) and a production that sounds cold at times and angular, sharp and isolated. Arty punk if you like videos that would be black and white and feature urban landscapes apartment blocks and concrete you know the drill.
Formed in Portland, Oregon in 2016, Public Eye’s membership takes in three-quarters of notorious punks Autistic Youth, vocalist Nick Vicario delivers his words through a one-paced tone it remains melodic taking a leaf out of Joy Divisions Ian Curtis’ book (possibly) as he remains impassive throughout its tastefully melodic stuff. There is a certain amount of metallic industrial Buzzcocks going on as well like the borrowed licks on ‘New Years’ which is totally early Shelley and Diggle.
The vibe might be one of worry about how the world is turning to shit due to all the right-wing nonsense we’re currently experiencing in countries around the globe and not just America which helps resonate these songs. It’s not a warm fuzzy record but a jarring jolt and they encapsulate that on the excellent ‘Lost Dog’. I guess they’re preaching to the converted here because I can’t imagine a Make America Great again trucker hat-wearing no to immigrants or let’s help the less fortunate is going to gravitate towards a record of this nature anyway.
It does soften and the mood isn’t always one of despair honest! ‘Neat Machine / Red Flag’ is a great mid-paced song with great arrangement and I love the bv’s and gang vocals on the chorus. If you want to escape the madness tracks like the lo-fi riffs of ‘The Fiend’ is basic and simple but that doesn’t take anything away from the energy it creates. Certainly, the second half of this record gets warmer if you know what I mean and the penultimate slab of black and white ‘The Duet’ is excellent with its rolling bassline taking centre stage before the headfuck whig out of the saxophone comes crashing in. It only leaves the decidedly frosty but strongest track on the record ‘You’re Being Laughed At’ to wrap this up all the best bits of this record all poured into one three and a half minute song.
If all else fails and we’re indeed heading to Hell in a handcart thanks to governments who only serve themselves then we’ve got a pretty decent mixtape for the trip and this would make the cut.