AL PACINOS SISTER – Trans Sister Radio EP

In May 2023, Al Pacinos Sister released a three track EP entitled ‘Trevor’. For those who’d followed the band’s progress to date, its material shared a trio of brilliant punky tunes. ‘Impossible’ applied an unexpected layer of synth noises, but this didn’t dilute the anger in any way. The pointed way in which the synths added to the APS sound merely confirmed any feelings that these anonymous, faceless musicians were among Britain’s best underground noise makers.

Approximately six weeks later, they returned with another triple whammy of speed driven riffs and a barrage of lyrics set to vent anger at a failing world. If anything, ‘Trans Sister Radio’ is another step forward. Yes, it still comes absolutely loaded with a force that makes them sound fit to burst and, yes, the trio of songs are still very much speed oriented, but there are times when the arrangements feel much bigger. Less hacked out, you might even say. The fact that the band are able to grow in this way without losing one iota of their absolutely ferocious edge is important. As good as they’ve sounded previously, this is a release that suggests they’ve actually got some staying power.

The slightly more sophisticated sound cuts right through the middle of ‘Money Problems’ when drums and guitar latch upon a brilliant riff that augments the typical APS hardcore with a swathe of punk ‘n’ roll attitude. The main riff positively leaps from the speakers with its full throttle groove sounding like an unholy hybrid of early Rocket From The Crypt and peak Germs. On top of the fearless punk set up, the vocals are exactly as you’ve come to expect – a barrage of lo-fi shouting, weighted by an unashamed British accent, makes APS easy to pigeonhole as a low budget Idles or Incisions. As familiar as the vocal makes this sound, the end result is incendiary, leaving behind the kind of track that fans will love, and something that will excite new listeners.

Equally presenting a step forward, the title cut features a choppy, mechanised riff on the verse and a much bigger sound on the chorus, when the guitars are loaded with extra volume, and a layered vocal makes the best of a simple hook and melody. Coupled with a great tune, the band have unleashed one of their more pointed lyrics, which, as the play on words in its title suggests, takes a massive swipe at transphobes and those online folks whom constantly snipe and make fun of the contents of peoples’ wardrobes. Chuck in a mid section that’s a little lop sided but still really spiky in a definite nod to post-punk, and this adds a pleasing complexity to something that’s still in and out in well under two minutes, whilst the even faster ‘Scuzz Bucket’ fills seventy five seconds with repetitive shouting and a fuzzy riff that sounds like Snuff taking the piss. This might be a bit more basic, but there’s still time enough to wedge in a counter melody on a shouty hook, as well as a repeated refrain that’s a reminder of the band’s hard and fast approach on their earlier recordings.

These three songs show Al Pacinos Sister in a more mature way than before. Their song writing appears with even more purpose, and for all of their knockabout fun (at least on the surface), the bigger arrangements present punks who are really tight musicians. You’d be hard pressed to find a five minute release that shared as many opinions and as much joy as this, resulting in a slab of full throttle hardcore that shouldn’t be missed.

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July 2023