Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

The Coathangers - Suck My Shirt

"Suck My Shirt"

Release date: 03 November 2014
The Coathangers Suck My Shirt
29 October 2014, 11:30 Written by Stephen Jenkins
Atlanta punk outfit The Coathangers would be the first to admit that they’ve done alright for themselves as a band who started out as a joke back in 2006. Four albums in and the group have shaken of all the flippant facetiousness which typified their fledgling releases, creating an authentic and admirable collection of well put-together post-punk songs on their new album, Suck My Shirt. They’ve also got a lot better at making music, which is a bonus in the music making business.

The problem was that the earlier output from the band was, well, pretty sketchy - at times giddy, at times bratty, and always a little bit grating on the ears (despite sounding like it was recorded using damp sponges). The Coathangers certainly divided opinions with their brand of naïve avant-garde punk until this year's Suck My Shirt – the band's most accomplished, and genuinely enjoyable record to date.

Album opener, “Follow Me” is a raucous pace setter with a verse coated in palm-muted power-chord fuzz and little waves of undulating bass right up until it drops into a chorus of nicely harmonised snarled vocals. There are hints of bluesy garage-rock not unlike that of The Black Keys on “Shut Up”, “Love Em and Leave Em” and “Zombie”, the latter of which presents a startlingly haunting display of softly softly sung vocals over a creeping bass-line which uneasily rocks back and forth in unison with the paranoid atmosphere of the song. One of the album's best moments comes in the form of the deliciously delirious“Aderall”. With a bass-line as heavy as it is chunky and with chicly yapped vocals which effortlessly roll off the beat, this is post-punk at it's angsty and dynamic best.

Suck My Shirt does not present a complete sound overhaul for The Coathangers, however. There are certainly traces of the band's past traits, except this time they err more on the side of being endearing quirks than being the slightly off-putting extras they once were. That old giddiness appears on the playful candy coated numbers “Springfield Cannonball” and “Merry Go-Round”, which are both yappy and dizzying whilst also being nice and catchy. And that avant-garde art-rock sensibility reappears on the noise-jam that is “Dead Battery”, but this time it's tightened up, genuine and packed with the right attitude.

It's amazing how solid rhythm section and a few diligently crafted guitar hooks can transform a band from sounding quite disingenuous to sounding on par with bands like Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Siouxsie and The Banshees, but to say that The Coathangers have polished off their sound would do Suck My Shirt an injustice. This is an album that retains the band's innate knack for raw and raucous punk-inspired guitar music. Even at the most sentimental moments, such as the album's closing tracks “I Wait” and “Drive”, the guitars are still turned up to full blast. Call it one-dimensional if you will, but you can't call it boring.

To say that The Coathangers have matured wouldn't do either. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that the band have continued to progress in focusing their energy away from the “we-don't-give-a-shit-crash-bang-whallop” attitude of their earlier recordings to a more refined “we-don't-give-a-shit-but-we'll-atleast-play-our-intruments-well” frame of mind. And that, if nothing else, makes for a more than half decent punk album.

Share article

Get the Best Fit take on the week in music direct to your inbox every Friday

Read next