Credit: Canshaker Pi
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Credit: Canshaker Pi
“Powerfully crafted, highly intelligent indie rock...” – CLASH
“An infectious romp, weaving in and out of vintage rock, fuzz, and punk and easily ramping up and down at the perfect moments.” – Stereogum
“…somewhere between Built To Spill, Pixies, Ought and Parquet Courts, but delivered with their own totally insatiable drive.” – Gigwise
“The ferocity of their live show which regales the spirit of late 70s punk and early 90s grunge in equal measures.” – Drowned In Sound
Amsterdam-based quartet Canshaker Pi introduced their combustible brand of indie rock pretty much in storybook fashion. The band’s well-received self-titled debut – released on Excelsior Recordings in 2016 – established all their innate qualities in spades: their ebullient pop writing, their manic bursts of noise, their sly and wisecracking lyricism. With some directive from producers Remko Schouten and Stephen Malkmus, the Canshakers funneled their lighting-in-the-bottle energy to the stage with glorious abandon.
With those foundations set, the songs were thoroughly crafted and honed for the album. Not surprisingly, the rest of the world took notice of Canshaker Pi. Prominent outlets such as Stereogum and Clash Magazine were instantly smitten upon hearing them. In just three years, the band has been taking festivals such as Le Guess Who?, The Great Escape and SXSW by storm.
Writing their forthcoming LP Naughty Naughty Violence in-between these endeavors, Canshaker Pi basically had two equally attractive options: to make a record that stresses just one of their many strengths… Well, as you can tell by the title of the record, this didn’t exactly happen. Channeling the erratic spirits of Sonic Youth, Parquet Courts, (early) Flaming Lips and Guided By Voices, Canshaker Pi embrace the chaos and weird-factor even more zealously.
Naughty Naughty Violence was recorded with three different producers – Schouten, Jan Schenk and Sietse Damen – a set of circumstances that further contributed to the schizoid feel of the record. First single ‘Put A Record Out’ captures Canshaker at their most ferocious, recalling Pixies, Trail Of Dead and METZ, shifting gears with absolute bluster and poise. They pull a bold 180 on the following cut, the sparse and suspenseful ’Legless’, leaning on Smit’s hushed, mesmerizing vocal delivery and creeping noise atmospherics.
Indeed, Naught Naughty Violence is slightly more treacherous, manic and mercurial in its pacing and arrangements than its predecessor. The Canshakers keep you off balance from start to finish. They cut some songs short at inopportune times (the aforementioned ‘Put A Record Out’), lash out in prickly fashion for a good primal scream (‘Sooner Later’) and allow their most hook-laden moments bleed out in shimmery dream pop, like a slowly depleting air balloon (‘No Sack, No Way’). But make no mistake, even within the madness of Naughty Naughty Violence, a method lies dormant: songs jump from one to the next like changing the channels on your TV. The images are all vastly different, but there’s still a logical cadence to it.
Closer ’Beautiful World’ may be just four minutes in length, the manner in which De Klerk clambers his way up towards his deranged, heartfelt diatribe gives the impression of a true epic. ‘Indie Academy’ conveys a classic power pop swoon that recalls Big Star, Toadies and The Cairo Gang. And finally, the soaring ‘Pressure From Above: its sputtering drum computer bits at playful odds with wistful indie pop reverie. Instead of succumbing to self destruction, the song’s pure melodic levity holds its ground with hustle and wit.
Conceiving a record without some sort of clear thematic outline proved fruitful for Canshaker Pi. The fearless foursome has grown more comfortably in their own skin, trusting their most visceral instincts. In daunting, trial-by-fire fashion, Naughty Naughty Violence has become a record of both sweet and sinister chaos.