Music Reviews
Punk Authority EP

Pete Swanson Punk Authority EP

(Software) Buy it from Insound Rating - 8/10

So, I’ve finally done it. I’ve finally listened to something so glaringly loud, so profoundly bizarre, so astoundingly boisterous that it’s actually left me mildly traumatized. I’ve effectively been so “out-weird-ed” by Pete Swanson’s latest EP, Punk Authority, that I now find myself lying on the floor, recovering from a slight panic attack. My heart rate is elevated, my hands are shaking, and I’m struggling to figure out where everything went so wrong...or so, right? I’m really not sure which is more applicable at this point. However, I do know this -- Punk Authority is pure, undiluted chaos frantically oscillating around a static-y black hole at a rate of 180 BPM.

The tracks here are basically sound collages set to mutated, yet oddly hypnotic dance beats. Although, it’s hard for me to imagine anyone attempting to dance to these tunes. But if I try hard enough, I can vaguely picture some sort of psychotic circus filled with undead, day-glo vomiting ravers spastically convulsing to the droning, bleep-bloop beat of Grounds For Arrest. From a certain perspective, I could even see the potential danceability of the EP’s title track, Punk Authority -- but it’s mostly a joyless, swaying dance performed by tearful, late-80s goth fans whose make-up seems to stream off their faces and coalesce into rippled, inky pools of discontent on the floor below. 

Sarcasm aside, there’s something hauntingly beautiful about the way these tracks morph and evolve over their fairly short lifespan. Yeah, I realize that ‘short’ may be a misnomer in describing a cut like Life Ends At Thirty (which clocks in at a daunting 12 minutes and 58 seconds), but these songs aren’t really just pieces of sound with a beginning and an end like the typical contents of a standard EDM album. No, they are actually living, breathing beings that are birthed out of a screaming, nocturnal, electronic womb only to gasp at the indescribable world around them and quickly wither away thereafter.

Again, while this music may not be the first choice for your next hipster-chic dance party, it’s definitely an appropriate companion for a late night in a dark, unfinished basement with only the single, intermittent flash of a strobe light guiding your way through its heavy layers of harsh frequencies and malformed, barbaric rhythms. If that sort of anti-social, quasi-psychotic behavior piques your interest (as it does mine), then by all means listen to the stimulant-induced, fever dreams of Punk Authority. But for all other club-savvy purposes, you’re better off shying away from this EP and buying the latest homogenized dance idioms from Skrillex, or even saving you’re money for the next Daft Punk LP.