Second full-length from this North Carolina punk duo. In case you haven’t paid attention to our raving about ISS in the past, here’s the story: Eddie from Brain F≠ and Rich from Whatever Brains work together to construct songs out of samples from classic punk records, making entirely new songs.
ISS’s songs tend to be really different from one another, but the general vibe is an extremely unique combination of dance music and punk that sounds utterly unlike anything that I’ve ever heard before. However, rather than being trance-y, ISS are very song-oriented, relying on Rich’s ability to pen a pop tune and deliver a big vocal hook, a skill which works particularly well in tandem with his bitingly sarcastic lyrics.
Going along with the intertextuality of the music, the lyrics are also dense with punk references, my favorite of which smash together bits of popular culture in really evocative and unexpected ways, like the release’s title (which seems to refer to both G.I.S.M. and the Brian Eno / Robert Fripp album No Pussyfooting), or the song “Infinite Jast Last,” which gives me hope that I’m not the only person in the universe who both owns an original L.S.D. flexi and also loves David Foster Wallace.
Another thing I love about ISS is the fact that they’re unapologetically funny, but unlike a lot of bands who use humor, the songs actually grow on you with repeated listens. I mean, the first time you hear “Part Time All the Time” you’ll giggle at its send-up of trendy punk fashions, but once you get past that you’ll live for the epic beat drop that sounds like it’s straight off the floor of a European dance club.
In case you can’t tell from all of this description, ISS are one of the most profoundly original and exciting punk bands in the world right now, particularly because they’re one of the only “bands” that is actually responding in an interesting way to the profusion of pop- and sub-cultural content that the internet has brought us… whereas most artists I’ve heard either wring their hands about the overwhelming nature of “content” in the digital age (like Parquet Courts) or just shamelessly rip off what has come before (95% of punk bands of the past several years), ISS scrape up the half-digested vomit of information that the internet has brought us and fashion it into something that truly could not have existed before.