Comprised of Huggy Bear vocalist Chris Rowley, John Arthur Webb and Kevin Hendrick from Male Bonding and mysterious drummer Sonny, Adulkt Life are hiding in plain sight, spitting out truths for those who care to stop and listen. This is not indie by numbers, nor a facsimile of punk energy, so beloved by DJs who have forgotten that empty sloganeering and selling trendy merch isn’t really the point.
Instead, this debut consists of ten short sharp shocks, songs which prickle with the seemingly interminable anxiety of 2020, where just to breathe the air can kill.
Ordinary jobs are being lost daily, while our government obfuscates, lining the Westminster bars and meandering towards decisions about feeding poor children. Kinda like the 80s – the 1880s.
Book Of Curses addresses quotidian concerns, with Rowley sighing, “In your paper-free environment, there’s no love letters left” on the gnawing synth attack of Room Context. Elsewhere, a more urgent kind of paranoia seeps into his house as on New Curfew: ” I don’t know just what to feel when I hear sirens outside”.
The throb and crunch of synths and guitars feel like an ideal dystopian soundtrack for right now. Sonny’s drumming feels suitably unrelenting, and it all comes together like drone strikes. Stevie K’s metallic clang, and the punky howl of JNR Showtime will never grace daytime radio, which is just as it should be. Even Flipper the most subdued track named after the influential US post-punk band, crackles with rage.
These songs are better in the shadows of twilight, siren calls to civil disobedience, a challenge for when it’s hard to even find the motivation to sleep, let alone get out of bed. They’re like reminders that independent creation is in and of itself an act of resistance in the face of our unyielding Eton elite. All to the good then.