New Music – Pardoner ‘Totally Evil System’

From the first strum ‘Totally Evil Powers’ swaggers in with a sound instantly familiar and frenetically paced. Pardoner are a band that know their place in the evolution of that quintessential old school punk sound. It’s got a poet’s political heart but isn’t afraid to scrap with a powerful clenched fist punch.

With a run time of just shy of 2 minutes this is definitely a punk rock track, but it draws on some other influences from a range of other genres to mix it up into something a little bit fresh. It’s got this little tickle of a sexy lead guitar tease wiggling across the shuddering train track rhythm and drums.

Vocally it’s got a decent amount of roar in the delivery. It’s not ripping it’s vocal chords for you or bleeding on stage but there is a clear build of passion and belief in the lyrics from start to finish. Honestly, it’s more like Henry Rollins once he mellowed a bit, rather than full frontal Black Flag aggression.

The lyrics read like your grandma updating you with all the family’s lives through what little she has managed to gleam through Facebook posts. It peppers in just enough poetry to keep each line interesting and twists the knife at the end of the second and third verse. To our ear it shows itself to be a pretty brutal take on the shallowness and futility of small talk in the face of a bigger political picture.

Pardoner serve up a unique sound that is in equal parts old and new. It’s driven by monstrous fuzzy garage rock guitars but it’s softened with a bed of much tighter little intricate flicks. It’s a big sound, but it’s not screaming in your face. It’s smart punk done well, and it sounds fucking great.

Words by Matt Miles

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