I recently googled, “Best female punk bands 2015”. Immediately, all I could think was, why I didn’t I do this long ago? I love punk rock. I love girl fronted rock of any denomination. It seems so obvious now. And the first bounty of my labour is The Coathangers with Suck My Shirt.
Like the record cover suggested, this is old school, stripped back, no fucking around punk rock. Opening trio Follow Me, Shut Up and Springfield Cannonball are all simple power chords or single note, progressions, driving four-four beats and not a single frill to be found anywhere. This is the kind of record where even The Ramones might suggest slowing things down and complexing things up a little. And that makes for an awesome start.
Things get a little more adventurous on the herky-jerky Merry Go Round and the lo-fi, blues rock infused Love Em and Leave Em. While a little surf groove rears its head in Zombie, it’s not up upbeat and happy. Once the vocals kick in, it’s haunting and almost spooky, ominous and foreboding. After setting what I thought was such a clear agenda, I dig the way that The Coathangers turn Suck My Shirt into these weird and unexpected directions. But I also enjoy it just as much when they get back to simple, balls to the wall approach of Smother.
Later, there’s a bit of swing and walking bass to be found on I Wait and pure guitar pop on Drive, as The Coathangers make sure they keep the listener guessing and on their toes right up until Suck My Shirt’s closing moments. And it’s that guessing, on my toes nature that I liked most about this record. I thought they had me with the opening punk rock, but throughout, this album just kept on delivering in ways that I didn’t even know I wanted.