Special Interest

(Copyright © 2023 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of Use )
Spiraling (2018) , 6/10 [mini]
The Passion Of (2020), 7/10
Endure (2022), 6/10

Special Interest, a punk band from New Orleans, fronted by vocalist Alli Logout with Maria Elena on guitar, Nathan Cassiani on bass, and Ruth Mascelli on synthesizer and drum-machine, revisited dance-punk of the early 1980s on the mini-album Spiraling (Raw Sugar, 2018). Young Gifted Black in Leather belongs to the pioneering clubs where bands like the Bush Tetras, ESG and Romeo Void performed 30 years earlier. Art Walk evokes a more danceable Gang Of Four with a female singer. Disco II sounds like a B52's leftover. It's all derivative except the closer, The State, the Industry, the Community & Her Lover, a thumping tribal punk-industrial anthem.

The Passion Of (Thrilling Living, 2020) is a sociopolitical concept around (against) income inequality that borrows from countless dance-punk idioms: Atari Teenage Riot's digital hardcore (Disco III), Death Grips' furious funk-hop (Don't Kiss Me in Public), propulsive !!!-esque nonsense (Homogenized Milk), and so on. The standouts are the stately and electronic sermon All Tomorrow's Carry, the techno bacchanal of A Depravity Such As This, the explosive locomotive of Head, the breathless and pounding With Love (an accelerated version of Suicide that could have gone for hours), and Street Pulse Beat, which sounds like U2 remixed by an industrial band. Nathan Cassianiís bass lines are the pillars of these evil dancefloor orgies.

The punk impact feels largely neutralized on Endure (Rough Trade, 2022), devoted to topics of black and queer activism. The result is the radio-friendly Cherry Blue Intention, and more regular dance-pop rants like Kurdish Radio, and even the pop-jazz ballad Midnight Legend. Again, My Displeasure imitates industrial gothic dances of the 1980s. Their militant spirit weds appropriate tribal and witchy overtones only in Foul and Impulse Control. The eight-minute LA Blues is a curious compromise that could be from a Kurt Weill opera, Logout's most professional recitation yet, with magniloquent electronic orchestration by Ruth Mascelli.

Ruth Mascelli had a solo project of dance-oriented industrial music between 2015 and 2019 called Psychic Hotline, whose cassettes were summarized on The Wild World Of Psychic Hotline (2021). Mascelli, a queer musician, also recorded under her own name an album of acid house and ambient house, A Night At The Baths (2021), and its (better) remix album, A Slow Night At The Baths (2021).

(Copyright © 2023 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )