The Coathangers – ‘Nosebleed Weekend’

By Glen Bushell

When you hear a punk rock record these days, you want it to pack an explosive punch. You want it to knock you for six, and leave you feeling exhilarated. Anyone playing punk rock needs to do this in today’s climate, otherwise there is a danger of getting swallowed up amongst the crowd. When you listen to ‘Nosebleed Weekend’ by The Coathangers, you get the feeling they write every record as if it is their début, with a strict determination to leave their mark. Not bad for a band who apparently – like most – just started playing for fun 10 years ago.

While not a conventional punk record by any means, these three ladies welded together a variety of styles on ‘Nosebleed Weekend’; making it sound urgent, current, yet warmly familiar. It is equal parts garage-rock, post-punk, and power-pop with sense of “golden-oldies” charm about it. Imagine Nancy Sinatra wearing a leather jacket, smoking endless cigarettes and drinking whiskey, while fronting The Murder City Devils. Probably not the most eloquent way to describe a band, yet it is somewhat apt.

The album was recorded at the studio once occupied by Jimmy Valentine, who essentially abandoned all the equipment there in 1979, which The Coathangers used to their advantage. ‘Perfume’ and ‘Dumb Baby’ sound old, and have a raw, edgy production that takes some of the saccharine from the vibrant pop hooks of ‘Perfume’ and ‘Dumb Baby’. They turn up the rock ‘n’ roll swagger on ‘Make It Right’, and the darkened rockabilly of the album’s title track is sparse, with a live feel to the recording.

The trio do add some bizarre moments into the mix, particularly ‘Squeeki Tiki’ which, quite frankly, sounds annoying at first but before the end of the song you are left smiling. ‘Watch Your Back’ shuffles along like an outtake from The 5.6.7.8’s back catalogue, and ‘Burn Me’ is somewhat disjointed, never really managing to deliver what it is trying to achieve.

These are small, minor imperfections in what is largely a very solid and cohesive album. The surf-rock leaning ‘I Don’t Think So’ is utterly infectious, and the dry vocal delivery of ‘Had Enough’ is complimented by a perfect juxtaposition of warm harmonies and dirty fuzz. The sultry ‘Copycat’ is a step into a different territory for The Coathangers. While most of the album paints images of chain-swinging biker gangs, the treacle-thick layers of the song close ‘Nosebleed Weekend’ in a decadent fashion.

The Atlanta based trio may have relocated to glitzy Hollywood to record ‘Nosebleed Weekend’, but they certainly didn’t lose their true southern grit. It hits hard and is instantly engaging. The Coathangers may not have hit the big time over the last 10 years, and lesser bands would probably have hung it up by now. Thankfully, The Coathangers are still here, and still kicking us in the face with another excellent album.

GLEN BUSHELL

Three more album reviews for you

LIVE: Underoath / Parting Gift @ Electric Ballroom, Camden

LIVE: Slam Dunk Festival 2019

LIVE: Neighbourhood Weekender 2019