Norway - Full Moon 226 - 02/04/15
HRPS II is the second EP from HRPS following their HRPS EP (2013). The band released an album, Bear as Project Herpes some three years
ago, before they changed or shortened their name. When I reviewed their short and quick Bear record, I finished the review saying: 'Maybe an EP next time, boys.' And... so they did.
The Fredrikstad quartet - Gunnar on vocals, Simen on guitar, Joakim on bass and drummer Sondre play some fast, wild and frantic garage-punk infused/fuelled rock, but they declare themselves
to be an 'anti-punk' outfit rooted in punk, with elements from dirty garage-rock and some tougher blues-rock. Soundwise, they claim to be inspired by bands like The Hellacopters, Turboneger,
The Good, The Bad & The Zugly, Göttemia and others. They have performed along with several bands from the Tonehjulet Kräftpest label/production
company/music collective (based in Fredrikstad's neighbouring city, Halden), and HRPS II was produced by Simen Følstad Nilsen (from bands as different as
Aiming For Enrike, Acres Wild, Anti Poison Slammer plus some other projects). The EP
was mastered by Dan Randall, at his Mammoth Sound Mastering in San Francisco, CA, USA. This has resulted in a more cleaned-up sound. The band has become tighter, and they have a certain energy
in their songs for sure. It's a win-win situation, it seems.
"Selfdestructo Girl" kick-starts the quartet of songs, steaming on with its power, aggression and stamina. Holding on to some of the heritage of, say Australian bands following Radio
Birdman into the 1980s (Celibate Rifles, New Christs, The Screaming Tribesmen and more) when a 'new wave' of garage-punk bands surfaced and exploded from down under. Merge this into some of
the wildness of The Butthole Surfers and some other of their US contemporaries, soulmates and associated acts and you are somewhere near the territory of HRPS. This is music from alternative,
Noise-punk rock bag.
"So You Wanna Be A Rockstar?" follows in the same vein as the opener, but it does not hold the same wild power as "Selfdestructo Girl" has. This is a song laughing at wannabe rock stars, and
copycat bands. They aim to provoke, as they do with "Destroy Bergen". This means war with tongue-in-cheek, or what? The steam runs wild with HRPS, but they sound controlled, and they are focusing
on humour (either if it is hidden, internal or done on purpose) with their songs. Punks are the worst. Bergen must be erased and destroyed. North Korea is the number one country. Seems like the
regular punk attitude and spirit. The EP's closer, "DPRK", 'hailing' the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. I guess HRPS throw some wild live shows, said to hold drama and colourful
theatrical effects with the singer in a drag queen outfit. This EP keeps its promise: short and to the point. Dirty, greasy grarage-punk-rock with very little extra make up.
Copyright © 2015 Håvard Oppøyen