I stayed on the sidelines for the great synth-punk excavation and revival the past decade, preferring instead to stare at my hand or dream of England. Matter of fact, even the much-beloved Screamers, the ancient seminal synthpunk band of yore, went further on attitude, iconography and timing more than they did tip-top songs - but who’s really to say, right? Australia’s AUSMUTEANTS have a synth, and they’re punkers, and no small number of their songs on their debut LP even recall the Screamers, Factrix, Devo and that whole ilk.
Unlike them, their album is tip-top, a breakneck collection of dead-to-rights dance/punk, right in line with San Francisco’s Numbers from over a decade ago, and nearly as good. Song titles like “Kicked In The Head” and “Stepped In Shit” betray the fact that these guys are total wave-os, too, with a few songs that might even be heard on the radio if you fiddled with the dial enough. That’s just fine, because execution is everything, and Ausmuteants can vary it up enough to keep it all exceptionally interesting, brash and fun. Despite a song called “Pissed Myself Twice” that wins this year’s least-likely-to-be-played-a-second-time award, the Ausmuteants record’s one I’m pretty sure you’d better hear. This track’s called “Daylight Robbery”.