After years of impressively deranged live performances as well as two 7″ records, a flexi, and several demos, the always reliable Toxic State Records has finally unleashed the debut full-length album by NYC goth-punk provocateurs ANASAZI. Nasty Witch Rock is both the title and the description, and the record proves that this is a group that stands out in their increasingly crowded genre.
While a good number of contemporary dark-punk bands tend to blend their hardcore and punk influences with that ever-popular Mancunian Factory Records gloom or the equally British Batcave scene, there is something delightfully, wickedly American in Anasazi’s take on the style.
There’s a twang to some of the guitar work which brings to mind the lunacy of THE CRAMPS or THE GUN CLUB. The California of the 1980s which gave us CHRISTIAN DEATH and TSOL also factors in heavily, and there’s more than a little bit of the high-tension swampy degeneracy of THE BIRTHDAY PARTY (who were Australians living in the UK but drawing heavily from American Southern Gothic sound and imagery).
Thankfully, even while wearing all these influences proudly, Anasazi have still managed to keep their sound modern by embracing a totally raw, blown-out production style and injecting their songs with a violent, cacophonous looseness. The end result does a much better job of capturing the spirit of their live shows than any of their previous output. There are enough little changes to the formula to keep the record interesting (the female vocals on “Morbid Native” are a nice touch, for instance), and the packaging, which includes a massive poster and lyric booklet, is a gorgeously screened, high-quality work of art unto itself. One of the boldest statements of our young year.
Nasty Witch Rock is available now from Toxic State Records.