Everyone has a list. One full of people who have wronged them in the past, and as a result, their name is now forever etched onto a metaphorical piece of paper. Popular entries on mine are a group of boys from the year below at school (pricks), the guy who talked throughout an entire Blur 2009 reunion show (also a prick), and the chef who poisoned me with bad hummus (unsurprisingly, a prick). But you know who is not on my list? Newcastle’s newest noisy post-punk band, Witness Protection Programme. This morbidly cynical outfit have burst forth from their lockdown hibernation to bring us their debut single, On My List, which explores the fragility of the mind.
An excellent demonstration and utilisation of classic post-punk shenanigans, the lads take the established blueprint and submerge it in a vat of steaming feedback, desperate atmosphere and chaotic misery. Beginning with a genre staple of driving bass and drum foundation, distorted and echoing guitars are used to build a house of dread. In the middle of all the disorder, a distant vocal wails in despair as ferocious feedback swarms, adding to the already intense adventure. Add a dash of hurtling speed, and you have a relentless track, one that is constantly assaulting and mercilessly unforgiving. While On My List is angry throughout, the chorus really opens it up and almost changes it into a shoegaze affair, with a lighter density and whispering backing vocals, you finally get a chance to breathe before being plunged back into the terror. The ending of the song doubles down on the doom and brings this whole anxiety-inducing affair to a close.
On My List is an exquisite look into dreary post-punk. Sonically, it’s very ambitious and uses textures to create an almost unbearable experience. Driving rhythms, catchy, screeches of guitar and morbid vocals perfectly generate a sense of utter destruction. Melancholic as it is cutting.
Check out On My List on Independent Music News now.