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PERSONNEL – EP

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Simple, charming, raw post-punk from these Englishmen. This isn’t anything like the more “polished” post-punk sounds that are big in the underground right now (not that there’s anything wrong with that, some of it is great stuff), but these guys come out of the English tradition of raw, shambling DIY that popped up after people got tired of what punk became and turned their focus to amateur home-recording and odd and unexpected sounds. Whenever stuff influenced by this UK DIY scene immortalized by the Messthetics comps pops up, it’s always endlessly refreshing; it seems as if there is a subversive and understated sense of humor embedded in the music, adding a deep listenability to it despite its idiosyncratic and unexpected sounds. I’m thinking of UK DIY royalty like Desperate Bicycles, The Homosexuals, and Scrotum Poles as major touchstones for Personnel’s sound, but mixed in with these bands is a distinctly more American influence; you can hear the the Minutemen as well as noisy no-wave in the guitar playing and I would be surprised if these guys weren’t very into The Urinals as well. The raw recording that sounds like they put a microphone in the middle of a living room lends a sense of open space to their sound; it’s clearly lo-fi but has a certain amount of precise clarity as well – everything is on the surface here. The first two tracks are the hits for me; opener “consumer electronics” is a plodding, talk-sung, and angular song on social disaffection, and it works so perfectly that it’s surprisingly compelling. Second track “modern drab,” again mining the same lyrical territory (but it works) is a more melodic tune with ringing arpeggios and slashing chords. Pick it up from doubledotdash.

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