Even punk bands can be “politically correct”. Well, to a certain extent that is. Take for example Brooklyn-based quartet, QWAM and the title of their debut EP, Feed Me, which easily could be called Fuck You since this mini-record’s five songs are are eight middle fingers raised against conformity and the establishment. The band’s attitude and focus shouldn’t be a surprise because they’re a punk from New York (d’uh), which gave us Patti Smith, The Ramones, The New York Dolls, Kim Gordon, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. And like these great artists and bands, QWAM hold nothing back.
Opener “Feed Me” is not just a frenetic and relentless track, but it is also immensely humorous. As the heavy guitars and rhythms wail in the background, front woman Felicia Lobo and her band mates express their disdain of the “perfect girlfriend” through irony and acerbic lyrics. Instead of being all gushy and asking for flowers, a box of chocolates, or a romantic evening on the beach, the band orders everything on the menu. Raspberry cheesecake, enchiladas, turkey legs, fish tacos, pad thai, and dinosaur chicken nuggets and many other tasty treats are mentioned. If you thought the expression, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”, applied to only one gender, think again. And reconsider your values if you think every woman wants to be a glamour model and starve herself so you could stare at her like eye candy.
“Glitter Paint” is lightning in a bottle – in duration and intensity. At just 100 seconds long (like a true punk tune), QWAM ratchet up the noise and the fuck you attitude. As they express in their not-so-subtle way, they’re not here to play games, so just spit out what you have to say. The four-piece do slow things down ever so slightly on the Slothrust-esque gnarly number, “Crazier Than Me”. It’s as close to a love tune QWAM will deliver, yet they still maintain the emphasis that anything but the status quo is what attracts.
The immensely clever and allegorical “Doogie Door” is like a bar-room blitz, filled with a catchy chorus that even the patrons of Temple Bar in Dublin or New York would be shouting the words while drowning their pints. And yet, this is song is about some of these same individuals who choose to be like everyone else instead of themselves. The finale, “Dirty Feet”, provides the perfect ending to this fine record with its uptempo and jittery approach. But more than just the awesome guitar riffs and pounding rhythms (the bridge is fantastic), Lobo’s words provide a sense of closure. Actually, they provide more reasons to oppose being ordinary and instead for all of us to be different.
The world will catch you in its mouth,
Will chew you up and spit you out
And when we’re all about to fall.
I’m screaming, can you hear me?
Can you hear me at all?
And if we all channel QWAM’s spirit and follow their lead, eventually the world will hear us. They will hear the voice of generations not willing to succumb to a despicable standard that still sees women as sex objects, as non-Christians as pagans or evil, and being subservient to the establishment as the norm. But until that day happens, we’ll continue to lean on bands like QWAM to show us the way with moving, gritty, and raucous records like Feed Me.
The EP is available now on Bandcamp. QWAM are Felicia, Matt, Eddie, and Rachel.
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