Shithätt – pronounced ‘shit hot’ – come from Ballina but the spelling of their name is not the only prominent aspect about them. Barring the inauspicious title of this release, ‘EP’1, this is music that is not easily forgotten.
It only takes moments into P.U.M.A. to feel the urgency and kinetic energy pumping from it. The guitars are taut and cranked up, coupled with a rhythm section that has been wound up like a clockwork toy and let go. P.U.M.A. deals with the perils of meeting someone you fancy, but with lumbered with social awkwardness: “If odd was a sport, I’d be a pro / I’m a glutton for punishment, I need it so”.
There is an authenticity and visceral fury to JF Donnelly’s vocals. This is a man not holding back. At times you hear his natural accent and there is something glorious about a singer unashamed of where they are from; to not be impeded by having to homogenise the vocals.
While P.U.M.A. sets the ante high, one can only assume that the rampant stampede that is Pin The Tail sounds completely batshit chaotic live. Yet, it’s to the credit of how it’s recorded that this lunacy is captured perfectly.
Unlike some bands who peddle this type of DIY post punk, the production and recording are top notch. It certainly helps when your drummer, John Henry, has a day job in the famed Grouse Lodge recording studio. Every pummelling bassline and drumbeat, furious guitar shredding and the raw emotion of the vocals are mixed with laser-like precision.
The other two tracks are marginally less propulsive, but they have strengths elsewhere. The hardcore of A Good Asset is all controlled aggression and guests in Momme Reibisch from Ballina peers Alps. EP closer Both brings in art rock elements, with the vocals that are akin to a spoken word stream of consciousness blasted through a megaphone. It brings to mind the wild hard driving abandon of At The Drive In mixed with the art punk of The Fall.
There is no posturing, nor time for vanities on Shithätt’s ‘EP1’. It’s the antithesis of vapid, style conscious music clutching for mass approval. ‘EP1’ is raw, vital, and thrilling. Get on it.