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Special Interest - Endure (Album Review)

Tuesday, 08 November 2022 Written by Craig Howieson

War, the climate emergency, the cost of living crisis, combustible governments. TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. There is no shortage of harrowing aspects of existence in 2022. Nor is there a lack of ways to be informed, or misinformed, about them. As we reach for our phone for the hundredth time, to speed read the latest notification, interrupting the half thought that we were on the cusp of completing, it is little wonder our minds lose focus. When everything is a disaster until a bigger disaster comes along, and priorities are swallowed by bigger priorities, how do you move forward?

It would be no stretch to think that at least some of the above was occupying the thoughts of New Orleans dance-punks Special Interest as they worked on ‘Endure’, their third long-player and first for Rough Trade. Eclectic, tireless and inventive, the record captures the essence of a brain short-circuiting. The band bound through genres and moods, never deciding if they want to dance or mosh, sooth or slay, sweat or bleed.

For four friends united by the New Orleans DIY scene, they are not afraid to wear their British influences on their sleeves. Having always embraced dance music and electronic backdrops, house and techno elements continue to creep into ‘Endure’ and there are parallels to be drawn with the Prodigy in their collision course of hard beats and violent rock.

The group also share a similar ability to that of label mates Gilla Band when it comes to ringing meaning from sheer discordance. Elsewhere, Midnight Legend is a straight up pop number that wouldn’t sound out of place in the UK top 40 circa 1997. 

Impulse Control is potentially the album's most arresting moment. From its beginnings—what sounds like a car alarm being punctured by a dentist's drill—it is overridden by a ferocious bass line and a venomous melody from vocalist Alli Logout. It summarises all that is great about this band, and this record. 

Special Interest have taken the anxiety and frustration of living in an always-online world, one which we all wish we could tune out once in a while, and smashed it into 11 songs. They may never sit still long enough for you to keep up, and listening to the record itself can be challenging. But there is something oddly comforting in hearing a band capture the brutal chaos of our shared surroundings, and reminding us that at times all we can do is endure.


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