Depending on which punk you ask, the notion of authenticity might range from being the molten core the rest of the subculture slowly sails across, responsible for those famous intra-scene ruckuses as different cohorts rub against each other like tectonic plates; or, authenticity might be more attendant, governing the movement as a whole from afar by gently guiding and shaping its currents like the moon administering the tides.
Which one is it? Does it even matter? We’re grappling with these heady questions because on the slate today is ‘Anger Mismanagement’, a new single from Melbourne-based punks La Famiglia and follow up to debut ‘Having A Bad Time, Having a Ball’. As punk fare, it’s a fairly classic offering – at a little over two minutes, it moves at a hell of a clip and the guitars are so fuzzy and so broad it feels like they’re being applied directly to your brain by a paint-roller. A surprising amount of cymbal cuts through this wall of sound, which is nice, and the kick drum feels like my upstairs neighbours taking it in turns to jump up and down on the spot repeatedly.
By their own curious and very specific admission, La Famiglia is “Ferntree Gully’s most hated hardcore band” and I suspect that’s because with this track, frontman Luke Seymoup is serving notice to all the other hardcore bands in Ferntree Gully. Seymoup writes that he’s seen “plenty of local bands express just how mad they are and how the world is out to get them… but, without a purpose, what exactly is the end goal?”, linking this to a more general observation that over time punk rock has “started to play fast and loose with the details” of “how angry they are”. And this is where authenticity comes in, the inevitable cleavage written into the very fabric of punk itself. By self-consciously writing a punk rock song about being angry for the sake of it, Seymoup asks an important question about the authenticity of punk’s driving emotion in the modern era. Punk has always been angry, but is it old enough now to have forgotten why?
Words: Ed Hambly
‘Anger Mismanagement’ is out now. Stream and purchase the track via Bandcamp.