Penny Cocks are classic. They sound classic and they look classic. Their band is classic: two punks and two skins. Pure mathematics and sharp angles, pure punk rock trigonometry. Their trousers are classic too; the first time I saw them, the first thing I noticed was their trousers. What’s with the belt buttoned above the belly button? You don’t see anyone wearing trousers up so high anymore. May be in museums. Memories from 1979. Sta press in glass cabinets with alarm bells.
But Penny Cocks are the opposite of museum pieces. Their strangled voices talk of how they have just reached their youth and how they have left behind their teenage years. You won’t find deception on their faces, no traces of betrayal or suffering, nothing showing us they are about to give up: Their features are tense, shiny and polished. Young. Punk rock has to be young; this is, maybe, its only demand, a solitary law. You can have tentacles, purple skin with yellow dots, you may be missing a foot; but punk rock will open up its arms and let you stay. Poor, rich, blind, clever, stupid or from Sant Boi; it doesn’t matter, as long as you are YOUNG. About the Young idea, they would sing. The first thing, is to be young, and burn that youth; waste it: that’s what it’s for. One of Penny Cocks songs actually talks of that: “Burning down my youth”. The message has no double meaning, no metaphors. What it is, it is.
I like everything about Penny Cocks. I like their name and their logo. I like, as I said, their youth. I like the fact they don’t know who Vampire Weekend or MGMT are. I like the fact they come from a lost world that seems to be my own lost world. I like that Adri – small, nervous, well built, pretty faced – looks like a tiny mod torn from Purple Hearts; That Marc –tall, wide and open legged, with ten metres of socks showing – is like a Paul Simonon from 1978; That Ignasi and Pablo are “by the book” skinheads, clean and traditional, part of a glorious army that resists to die. I like that Penny Cocks are a revival: I have nothing against revivals. Some of histories best songs are revivals. Even so, revival is not a good word: Classic is better. Penny Cocks have songs that are classics in the making.
To find the influences in their songs you don’t need no John Deere excavator. Their loves are right before us. There is SLF and Undertones and revival Mod in their hymns, “Down the underground”, with its fantastic break-with-building-tension in the middle. There’s also a break in the hymn “Burning down my youth” that sounds like Generation X, the lyrics are like Generation X and everything in it reminds you of Generation X. “I like it” flaunts drums like Sham 69/Rejects, that sweeten up a 1977 punky pop melody. “Playing with fire” Is titled just like one of TV21 songs, but its not the same; Its theirs, but its still shines like mod 1984, with airs of The Blades and The Moment, those celestial poor mans trumpets. “Obsession girl” has trumpets too, just as rickety and marvellous and hasty: like Small Hours in a rush. What the hell: Like The Saints when they incorporate a wind section and like Iain Shedden, who was also in The Jolt and of course Small Hours. Everything fits in. Those names, riffs and stories? You have to remember them. Penny Cocks go down memory lane in “ Don’t look at me”, this song has the same riff as “No Reply” by the Buzzcocks. It’s a great riff and so I think: Why change it? What need is there to camouflage it? Penny Cocks should think the same way.
Penny Cocks are, lets get to the point, classic and Young. Now is the moment to capture them. Punk rock has never aged very well, or with a lot of dignity. This album is an snapshot of a band at their moment of highest power, burning ships and not thinking at all of their future or musical evolution. If you blink you’ll miss them, you’ll miss them forever. The moment is now, so lets stop talking about it.
Kiko Amat, abril de 2012