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  Sick56 / Higgins++ - Out of the Black Pool
By Deep Fry Bonanza Zine submitted

Though most of you out there probably haven´t heard of JSNTGM Records, I was actually pretty excited to get a promo package from them. Back in the day they released Hooton 3 Car´s debut 12" EP, Spot Daylight, which just happens to be one of my favorite records of all time. I remember mailording one of the last copies the label had five or six years ago and getting a nice note along with a bunch of stickers and other stuff. I got the same with the promo copy of this split EP, which always endears me to a label. But what about the music? Well, both Sick56 and Higgins++ play that sound that makes me wish that I lived in England. Take Everything Falls Apart-era Husker Du, add in some of the singalong melodies of Blitz or the Business, infuse it slightly with the post-punk attitude of Wire and make sure your Discharge records are never too far from the turntable and you have it. Of course Leatherface are the best and most famous purveyors of this style, but Great Britain has a way of turning out more and more brilliant bands of this ilk than any other place in the world. Sick56´s side of the split contains two tracks, "Violence" and "Crash & Burn." "Violence" is both extremely heavy (the song has weight) and very poppy, reminding me a great deal of the last LP by Sick56´s brilliant countrymen No Choice. While a bit less heavy than bands like Hooton 3 Car and Broccoli, Sick56´s music is far more structured and pop-oriented than most any US hardcore group. "Crash & Burn," on the other hand, is pretty much a straight-up hardcore song with a call-and-response chorus. I dare say that this track has a hint of NYHC in it, and I don´t doubt that it would appeal to fans of bands like Straight Ahead or early Agnostic Front. Higgins++, on the other hand, are a bit harder to pin down as they´ve kinda-sorta chosen a cover. Actually, they´ve reworked the Dead Kennedys´ "California Uber Alles" as "Cool Britannia Uber Alles" (methinks they could have done a little better than that and still fit the meter of the song). They´ve reworked the lyrics significantly to critique politics circa 2004 and they´re quite clever, but the music remains very true to the DKs´ original. My guess is that a band this in touch with their old school roots must be pretty good, but it´s just difficult to tell from a single cover song. This great-looking pink vinyl single is limited to 500 individually-numbered copies, so I guess it´s more of a teaser or a vanity item than an important release by either band. However, after listening to the disc I´m anxious to hear more from both bands, so I guess that JSNTGM has done their job in that respect. And if you happen to be looking for more of the UK´s unique style of hardcore bands, pick up this single because it´ll give you a quick and dirty intro to two really great ones. Posted by Daniel on September 24th, 2004 02:19 PM

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