Soaker, “Vamp”

JP Basileo

There exists a direct, and complimentary relationship between loud, crude, noise-infused punk music and crude, disturbing imagery—just look at any number of diy punk show fliers ever made, ever. So it makes sense that new Wharf Cat signees Soaker’s video for their track “Vamp” should be chaotic, confounding, and perhaps downright hard to watch. Vintage-looking footage follows a seemingly familiar cult migration through the desert, their blankets wrapped around their shoulders, and their flags and obscure idolatry indicative of some sort of ritualistic musical gathering. It’s not long before the imagery is warped entirely and various, not necessarily cute dogs, are superimposed onscreen—fervently barking, their tongues lolling, apparently foaming at the mouth.

The dogs are hard to ignore, until you notice the other ongoings of the video—people writhing on the ground, people covered in blood, a ridiculous skeleton’s ridiculous grin, and a couple of appropriately vampiric women. The whole thing goes pink and strobes intensely like an unrelenting neon psychosis and suddenly it’s with you, embedded into your subconscious. It’s the kind of experience that makes you question, “Am I being brainwashed/corrupted/possessed from watching this?”

The song itself, off Soaker’s debut S/T EP (which was tellingly produced by Merchandise/Death Index frontman Carson Cox, and is due out November 4), is a ripping haze of guitar distortion and pounding, aggressive drums heavy enough to knock the wind out of you. Guttural wailings thunder throughout, lathered in enough delay effects to make them nightmarish, their low-end, hollowed echoes reminiscent of the dogs barking onscreen. It’s a jarring, yet somehow infectious blend of noise and punk. Self-preservation screams to get out, but morbid curiosity and an unspoken dark underside keeps you put.

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