Dirty-raw irreverence with an air of frustrated volatility is the domain of loveable Greek psych-punk hooligans, Bazooka. Their musical personality harnesses energetic and immediately likeable melodies that flesh out angst and passion in equal measure while illuminating an experience unique to them. As youths of Volos, Greece, they’re acclimatising to the shock and sadness of their changing homeland, where bartering coupons and selling herbs and home-grown food is the norm in what has previously been known as one of the nation’s most lucrative, popular and enchanting tourist gems.
The impending explosion of a release that is Useless Generation deals directly with the changing socio-economic landscape, and their video for the track pulls no punches in asserting what many young people, this band no different, have to say on the decline of a proud country.
Bazooka are filled with venom and explosive punk vitality on Useless Generation, a sonic/visual statement on the dissatisfaction of youth.
The video rolls, kicks and punches along. It’s shot in black and white almost like an old-timey slapstick comedy which, given what silent films were to the deflated spirits of those in the Depression, quite a remarkably clever way to administer this video to Greece and the rest of the world. A young man with a sad-clown expression is dragged around the darker side of the tourist haven, placed in various positions uncomfortably (not unlike what the country’s leaders has done for it’s people, no?).
Most notable is one scene where the band sits around and Sad-Face is placed upside down against a wall as though it were nothing (à la Buster Keaton). The entirety of the video is shot entirely in the shadow of the city – dilapidated streets and abandoned lots where ruination is rife and a portrait of what might become of the rest of the country if the foreshadowing of their song is not wrong. Their message is blatantly clear; it’s up to this younger generation, their peers, to take the steps to make things right. To protest against what is happening or accept it and be responsible for an uncertain, ill-lit future.
It isn’t every day that one hears about the thrashing psych punk coming out of Greece*, but it bloody-well exists, and given the signs of the times and where they hail from, it loans their music certain potency. Besides the comedic edge and raw energy of their sound and the accompanying clip, the message is one that needs to be heard and digested. With a song as cracking as this, it’s easy.
In some ways there is an edge of what Craig Nichols and The Vines could have gone onto become if his struggle with Aspergers didn’t put a halt on their rise (some of lead singer Xanthos’ facial contortions are reminiscent of Nichols to a spooky degree), if the Von Bondies hadn’t blurred out into fuzzy-rock obscurity and 70s psychedelia was done right. Which it is, is the case of Bazooka. But to be clear, this is psych-punk laced heavily with garage rock: rhythms that aren’t jarring as straight punk oft goes, nor expansive and grandiose as Pink Floyd’s Saucerful of Secrets.
It’s not going to be out of place in a pop sense either, and that versatility, that wit, that knack for bringing together all these elements – from the music to the lyrical content and feel of the video and what it communicates – is sophisticated and relatable. It could well be an anthem for disillusioned youth over there. And what better way to rally the troops than with a kick ass, charming, spirited punk song.
*Ed. Unless you’re Greek of course.
Bazooka’s new record Useless Generation is out March 4 via Slovenly Recordings.