Sauna Youth - Distractions
Sauna Youth have a humorous swagger: from their ‘nom de rock’, the deadpan album title, and the question they pose in their press release: “Why can’t we be both the Ramones and Steve Reich?” When it comes to Distractions, this is an album full of ‘em and the band’s wisecracking spirit is well-captured.
Barnstorming punk strumming is firmly in place but can become repetitive even if few songs break three minutes. The band react to that trap with loops, samples, noise outros, plus two pieces of accompanied spoken word. It’s a decent one-two punch, thumping ears with quality hooks and choruses (‘Transmitters’ and ‘Abstract Notions’ will have you singing along) before deploying more wayward urges to jab at any flagging listeners. You may wish the band would channel themselves in the direction of Urusei Yatsura or Sonic Youth and weave their experimental urges into the pop tones rather than keeping the two held arm’s length apart. Does the band live up to its name-checks? They’re both in the same room – but it’d be nice if they were sharing the stage. Next time, let's see if they can prove their rallying cry Reich - or wrong.