Watching Glasgow’s Heavy Rapids live is like being transported to a grainy footage 1976 documentary about UK punk’s uprising – skinny dudes playing wirey rock music like it’s a fight for survival against their own self-destruction. Since the UK’s economy and social values are being transported back to 1976, it’s obvious why their debut EP ‘Cash In Hand’ rings with as much urgency as it does.
Revolving around danger, ‘Cash In Hand’ establishes it’s thrill-ride manifesto from the opening announcement “May I have your attention please, please place your head beneath your knees” on ‘Going Down’. Discussing the uselessness of the brace position during an actual plane crash, it mirrors the reassurance our political leaders would like to comfort us in as our nation continues to plummet headfirst into the Atlantic.
The only dip from the panic takes place in the mellow ‘Hurricane E’, where frontman Dillon Squire basks in the brief comfort in a pleasant drug experience – “you can be who you are, no worries no fears, blissfully unaware of the problems on the other side”. The peace is soon shattered on their hometown ode ‘Paisley Pattern’. (“They say this is a place where dreams go to die, they’re fighting in the streets for their pride<"/i>.) The rhythm section builds in tension throughout the song that puts you right in the centre of the action as you get jumped late at night.
Like their contemporaries in The Dunts, Rascalton, Voodoos and many more, Heavy Rapids’ aim to just to write songs about their day-to-day lives, but put them all together, and you begin to piece together a tapestry of social deprivation and moral panic across Glasgow, combated with dry humour and rock and fucking roll. ‘Cash In Hands’ musicianship may be minimalist and raw, but it’s rich in storytelling and points you directly to their reality. Welcome to the new era of punk.
‘Cash In Hand’ by Heavy Rapids is out on June 7th.
Words by Andy Davidson (@AndyrfDavidson)