Although it’s the deeply percussive, tribal feel of The Slits or Bow Wow Wow that first jumps to the fore on listening to the debut EP from Fierce Mild, it’s the short-lived post punk band Delta 5 whose influence seems most overt over the sardonic jabs of its five tracks. Dealing in the same taut musical lacerations as Gang Of Four, it was the band’s dry humour that set them apart somewhat from their fellow Leeds politicists. The sparse tonal economy and social commentary that epitomised both those bands is resurrected here with bravura by Cara, Roro and Cathy on ‘Yes n Yes n Yes’ – and never timelier.
Equal People is a straight-to-the-point yes to equality – a call to the dance floor, a call to “shape a country that is yours.” We Sail Our Own Ships is equally charged (“We’ll make ourselves clear/ To all the radicals and queers/ I’ll vote now because now I can”), crashing towards a noisy, discordant ending. The yelps that pepper Not Broody contrast with the song’s harmonised monotone chant, where a moment’s silence is shattered by the band’s re-entry – as abrupt as the serrated clanging guitars that cut into the rhythm section’s foundation on Tracy’s Girls.
There’s a sense of panic and urgency to the scenarios and the social minefield that is small talk in the track of the same name, at odds with the instruction manual formality of “Make the other person feel comfortable/ Establish eye contact, and just relax”, before the mounting pent-up nervous energy is released in the crescendo of the chorus.
Fierce Mild push similar buttons to another Dublin trio, Sissy, in terms of subject matter, albeit in a more jagged post punk style; political, yes (see their previous bleak-but-upbeat Ann Lovett’s Letters for another hard dose of reality), but that’s not all. This is music to dance to. “There’s nothing small about small talk” they tell us. There’s certainly nothing mild about this raucously affirming EP, but there’s plenty to talk about.