Melbourne punks CLOWNS have never been ones to conform.
The five-piece started life in 2010 as a more-or-less straightforward hardcore punk act, but over the course of their first three albums – 2013’s I’m Not Right, 2015’s Bad Blood and 2017’s Lucid Again – they have steadily evolved and mutated their sound in whatever direction they felt like.
It has always been loud but has become more nuanced over the years.
The new album (and FAT debut!) Nature / Nurture continues down this snaking path – it’s 11 songs swerving right and left abruptly, veering from frenetic punk to slower more psychedelic-tinged rock, all while remaining a cohesive amalgamation of their three previous albums.
Over the last couple years CLOWNS have experienced an explosion in popularity – selling out the Corner Hotel in Melbourne, to playing in front of 56,000 people supporting Foo Fighters in 2018, to securing a coveted slot at the worlds biggest heavy music festival at Wacken Open Air.
With all of this success, CLOWNS are by no means resting on their laurels.
They’ve started a record label/booking agency called Damaged, and they’re continuing to experiment with their own sound and firmly push the boundaries of their music.
So, while Nature / Nurture does contain some blistering, bellicose punk – the frantically anti-conformism of “Bland Is the New Black”, the largely snarling and snotty “Freezing In The Sun” and the hyperactive, angular jitters of “1:19” – it also has some of the slowest and most experimental songs CLOWNS have ever recorded.
“Soul For Sale” starts off with some pleasant lilting sunshine guitars before exploding out of the speakers, “May I Be Exhumed?” is a beautiful mess of experimental noise that’s more like a sound collage than a song, and album closer “Nurture” is a hypnotic, trippy and laidback tune featuring prominent use of a sitar.
This is punk rock with a difference, that uses traditional facets of that genre as a foundation, but then builds upon that to create something that’s both utterly unique and incredibly exciting.
That coupled with their intricate musicianship, clever, incisive lyrics and their phenomenally high energy live shows CLOWNS are quickly becoming a crowd favorite around the globe.