Never Give Up is the debut album of garage punk three piece, Abjects. Stripped back to essential sonics of genre, all noise here comes from guitar, bass, and drums. There’s something of the traditional tones of subversive energy. There’s growl, grit, ecstatic rumblings and exuberance. The spirit of fun is not small.
The three piece has origins in three different countries, Spain, Italy, and Japan – but it is London that’s the base of operations for the group that formed around the songwriting experiments of singer/guitarist Noemi, and bassist Yuki. Soon joined by drummer Alice, Abjects is the product of diverse musical influences, but with a political urgency. But wait – this stuff isn’t simple protest and piss. The sense of inclusion, and the determination to celebrate individualism resounds through the eleven album tracks.
Yes – there are moments of explicit political angst, ‘Fuck Brexit’ isn’t veiled with subtlety or nuance. But even here – when the target is tagged with laser precision, there is joy. Relentless, driven, and aggressive, there’s also a tension that comes from the sheer stupidity of a situation. ‘Fuck Brexit’ may as well called ‘are we still discussing this bullshit, what happened to common sense?’. But for the hostility, and sense of sadness there is an outpouring of hope that “We’ll search the world / and find a place where we belong”. Clearly, Abjects feel the burning need for community. Other tracks in the sequence pour light on the apparent hopelessness and hate of a situation.
“The Storm” is near to pure poetry. The distortion of all stringed instruments is sublime. The drums are hollowed, with a mixing desk set on ‘tribal punk’, or maybe it’s just ‘pogo’. This is a document that stands as opposition to the fascist rise across Europe, and the unsettling right-wing influence pro-leave Brexit voters. Abjects harmonize that they’re ‘going to lose control’. They never do though – a screeching guitar, and clipped phrasing shows a band that knows the power of cutting off the frills, keeping focus and landing a blow.
For all the broadly political stuff, Never Give Up is also a deeply personal album. Almost confessional, there are passages where the songwriting opens up issues that couldn’t be discussed behind closed doors. ‘The Secret’ is a track that snaps the brittle issues between lovers. Funny how we can get on a stage and share our pain with the world, but we can’t look our lover in the eye and say ‘THIS is what’s up’.
The equilibrium between intimate and universal issues is a strong pull of the album. Clearly, the instrumental energy; bare knuckle thrills, spills, and bellyaches are all key – but it’s in the emotional build and release of lyrical content that offers unique quality.
The title track of the album is the log for the entire map. During a period of separation, when the band members were all occupied in their native lands, the impetus to continue with a collaborative creative venture was tested. The value of perseverance, personal freedom, and artistic drive is pinned out here. Without sticking to our individual guns how can we address the collective concerns. The urge to make art must be met fully, and with the most authentic version of ourselves. Abjects nail it, and they make it loud, and they make it fun.
HURRY – BUY – ABJECTS MUSIC
PHOTOGRAPH BY ALEX CHARILAOU