Hardcore, Punk

Oily Boys – Cro Memory Grin (Review)

Band: Oily Boys
Album: Cro Memory Grin
Genre: Hardcore Punk
Country: Australia
Release Date: 20th of June, 2020
Released via Cool Death Records
Cover Artwork © Cool Death Records

Through a post from the Berlin-based distro Bis aufs Messer I became aware of a new Australian Hardcore Punk band. With the band comparisons mentioned there and the quite minimalistic but great cover artwork, my curiosity was piqued and I immediately listened in. It was about Oily Boys and their debut album Cro Memory Grin, which I didn’t know before. It did not take long and I had bagged the record and since having arrived at my place, I almost do not play any other record. What the troupe from Down Under presents here is probably one of the best Punk records I’ll get to listen to this year, even if I’m rather a late bloomer in this case, because it was already released last year.

The music Oily Boys present on Cro Memory Grin ignites from the first bar. Here you get frustration-laden, aggressive and stomping Hardcore, which presses right in thanks to its lethargic and chronically pissed-off sound and burns itself quickly into the brain, especially because of its noise components. Groovy and dirty like old Germs albums, as nasty as classic English Hardcore and aggressive like a swarm of bees on methamphetamine. Besides a few straightforward precise songs with short playing time, especially the longer songs are captivating, which clearly have anthem character and to which you can – no want to – shout along after a few runs. In particular, the notoriously fucked-up vocals remind me immensely of old UK classics by Chaos UK or GBH, while the riffing with its distorted ill-tempered sounds rather draws comparisons with 80s USHC.

Oily Boys mix a lot of different elements and feed the emptiness in the background with many noises that give the sound the overloaded atmosphere of a crowded city and can more than authentically set the urban terror to music. In addition to the incredibly catchy songs, this aspect is for me the biggest highlight of this record, because this background noise often is so annoying that the frustration the band reflects in their sound can totally pick me up and take me with them. Otherwise the intense, furious instrumentals are particularly convincing here, especially the drums, which bludgeon everything away as if they were played by American policemen. The aforementioned vocals then finally make clear what the band thinks of metropolis and how annoyed they seem to be by it. Sydney seems to be no exception and to be just as nerve-racking as other big cities whose bands have already exemplified this for several years like New York or London based artists.

Originally the record was already released last summer in Australia via Cool Death Records and was available there on vinyl format. Since December you can get a repress via Static Shock Records as well in Europe. For the American fans, Iron Lung Records is the responsible label. Since the record itself including the great cover artwork is an absolute eye-catcher, it is highly recommended to get the album also in physical format. In addition, you can also enjoy the lyrics, which complete Cro Memory Grin in any case.

Whether only once briefly listened to or stuck on this band, it remains just damn much stuck in the head from what you get there beating off the speakers the entire playing time and exactly that makes Oily Boys just also clearly stand out from the large mass of good HC Punk bands. As soon as concerts are possible again, you can only hope that the band will also come to Europe and offer the possibility to let out all the frustration piled up over the last years live, because that’s exactly what the sound is perfect for. Cro Memory Grin is for me easily one of the best albums of the genre that have been released worldwide in 2020 and sooner or later this band will be able to gain a special status and cause a furor due to their innovative interpretation of rage-ridden Punk. The spark must only be ignite to a flame in Europe and America, which should be ensured by now with the vinyl release.

Favourite Tracks:
“Heat Harmony”


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