Imbeciles - The Imbeciles

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 5 / 5 / 2020

Imbeciles - The Imbeciles

Label: The Imbeciles
Format: CD
Underdeveloped but fiery post-punk/hardcore on debut album from enigmatic group the Imbeciles


Not much is revealed about the Imbeciles. Though there is a short Q&A with each member online, we aren’t to know their full names. And though we know that some of the band come from LA, some from Texas and some from London, we don’t know which. The air of mystery is preserved over the course of the band’s debut album, with obscured lyrics and stop-start songs. The intention was to soundtrack the coming end-times of the human race, with songs about paranoia, anger, violence and betrayal – while sounding like the record could have been made in 1979. On the latter point, they partly succeed. These ate short, sharp songs that you could imagine being released at the peak of the post-punk era. But you also sense that, despite the stated influences of Gang of Four, Wire and Devo, the band’s reference points also stretch into the coming decades – there are nods here towards Mike Patton’s work with Tomahawk and Fantomas, to the furious blues of Mudhoney and the Melvins and to the primal thrills of early DC hardcore. The musicians behind the Imbeciles had already been in a band, playing more consciously mainstream punk-rock as ‘Wartoad’ between 2014 and 2018. It was on Wartoad’s final tour that they decided they had more in common with the weirdos than the bands they’d been touring with and adopted their new direction and identity. (A note on the name, while we are here: such a great punk rock band-name you are amazed no-one else has ever used it. It turns out that there is a UK hardcore band, who released one album earlier in the decade, also called the Imbeciles – hopefully nobody minds the duplication.) There is no shortage of ideas crammed into this record, with fifteen songs in about half an hour. Some of the riffs and grooves sound strong enough to have been developed into more substantial songs – it’s a regret, for example, that ‘Decider’, with a doomy bassline and a glorious early '80s feel, comes to an abrupt halt after less than two minutes. But, that said, while there is some regret that the album isn’t even always fully formed, there is plenty here to work with. What we end up with is a scrapbook of a band throwing off the shackles. Akin to Fugazi’s ‘Instrument’ soundtrack, it feels like a band showing their working and inviting us into the studio with them.

Track Listing:-

1 Panic
2 D.I.E.
3 Stalking Boy
4 Ice Cream
5 He's a Writer
6 One Hand Tommy
7 Oh My Rod, Pt. 2
8 Medicine
9 Decider
10 Action/Motion
11 Depending On
12 Bat
13 Blind
14 Back Brain
15 Paranoia

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