The Computers’ EP ‘You Can’t Hide…’ was a blistering seven song disc which firmly laid out the band’s intentions. It was raw. It was sweaty. Most importantly, it was impossible to be still while listening to it. This was the work of a band with a great promise.
Two years later, their debut full length album, ‘This Is The Computers’ really delivers on that early promise. From the off, the energy you loved about that EP still sits at the core of the Exeter band’s sound. It’s not a retread of old and completely familiar territory, however. The band has matured over the intervening years, leaving behind a few of their punkier tendencies; instead they bring more garage rock and punk ‘n’ roll influences into their sound than ever before. The album was recorded at the home studio of Rocket From The Crypt’s John “Speedo” Reis, which alone may have had a strong influence over the material’s overall sound. While the album was recorded live to tape over four days, it somehow manages to sound like it was recorded with a much bigger budget.
The first number ‘Where Do I Fit In?’ sounds a lot like The Computers of old, with the distinctive screamo vocals and the guitars buzzing at full pelt. In just over a minute, it’s over…and then, the real fun begins. Throughout ‘Lovers Lovers Lovers’, Sonny plays a guitar riff that’s a throwback to Rocket From The Crypt at their peak, which pitched against some great drumming from Aiden makes for superb listening throughout. ‘Rhythm Revue’ moves even further away from the band’s hardcore sound and into retro punk ‘n’ roll sounds than ever before. In just over two minutes, the band run through a great rock ‘n’ roll number – think Stray Cats meets The Cramps, turned up to eleven – without seemingly breaking a sweat. ‘Music Is Dead’ also offers some great punk ‘n’ roll thrills – all boogie rock riffs, rock ‘n’ roll solos and maximum attitude. This is far better than anything hinted at on that first EP. If this sound makes up the bulk of The Computers’ music on future releases, that certainly wouldn’t be a bad move.
‘I’ve Got What It Takes’ is an effective stomper, full of gang vocals and downtuned strings. In terms of choruses, those gang vocals make this one of the album’s most catchy. The real star here, however, is Aiden, whose measured drumming really lays down a superb foundation with its relative simplicity. ‘Yeah Yeah But…’ revisits a few tried and tested ideas, with its hard drumming and harder vocal style being reminiscent of the band’s ‘Teenage Tourette’s Camp’. Here, though, the arrangements feel a little less slapdash, with a dual vocal adding an excellent extra dimension. ‘The Queen In 3D’ explores garage blues territory, with the band moodily stomping across two minutes with a swaggering riff and enjoyable blues-rock guitar leads. It’s still easily recognizable as being The Computers, though, since Alex is out front and centre, delivering a vocal about as loud as he can muster.
‘Hat Damocles’ slows things down to an intimidating chug, over which Alex screams intensely: “this could really be the moment of your reckoning” over a slow pounding drum line. As the track progresses, things don’t lighten up. The guitars alternate between a menacing riff and furious jangle. When the band toyed with similar grinding riffs on a couple of their EP tracks it didn’t always sit right. This time around they nail it, and just crank up the intensity enough to be threatening without ever becoming dreary. What are the chances of the next album being a Black Flag ‘My War’-esque pummelling of the senses?
‘This Is The Computers’ is a fantastic release. It’s only just of full-length duration (11 songs, 25 minutes), but it needn’t be any longer. The band arrives, tears it up and then leaves, knowing this was a job well done. In punk/garage rock terms, there’s precious little better than being able to leave your audience pumped up and wanting more. The Computers have that sussed…and then some.