Friday, 16 April 2010

Cocktail Credibility

Punk rock is like a cross between an international cottage industry and the masons. Everyone helps everyone else out, and trade is often performed by like, with hardly a penny crossing hands. You play with a band you like the look of and the old reciprocal merch swapsies soon gets going. And once in a while there'll be a distro table there, run by a committed punk fan who just loves getting the stuff out there. The protocol there is, give them a bundle of yours and they'll give you a bundle of theirs - and that way you get your hands on all sorts of fabulous stuff you amy never of otherwise heard.

And that's how I first got my ears around Beng Beng Cocktail.

After an ace all dayer at the fabulous Sawyers in Kettering, we came home with a huge heap of punking stuff from around the globe from the Pumpin Records table in exchange for a few tawdry Hacksaw CDs. But the one that really drew me in was totally different to all the rest. There wasn't a drum, bass or distortion pedal to be heard. Instead three worldly sounding youths were strangling noises out of their acoustic guitars while spitting politics out in a gurgling and gallically mangled English. These kids meant business, and it was the kind of business that I liked.

Now usually when you give acoustic guitars to punkers they either go all agit prop busker, or quiet and introspective on a stool. But the Beng Beng boys are an entriely different proposition. Pure venom flicks out of every string strangling finger, while their larynx hurl out spatter gun flobs of verbal drool, fully diseased up with their barking ire.

They're kind of familiar, in that sort of black T-shirted hat wearing neo-skank punk that's been kicking about for a couple of years now, but at the same time utterly and refreshingly original. And best of all, they do the acoustic thing without ever being wanky, folky or resorting to reggae - and that can only be a good thing. I'd highly recommend getting your hands on their present album From The Bottle To The Swallow, and if they ever come round your way, get and see them. I know I certainly will!

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