A punk band without guitars? An intriguing prospect fulfilled by London trio Pozi, made up of Toby Burroughs on drums and lead vocals, Tom Jones (no, not him, but wouldn’t that be great?) on bass and Rosa Brook on violin.
On paper it sounds amazing. And on first listen it sounds pretty good too. Pozi use their novel choice of instrumentation to create a rudimentary racket that immediately rewards.
'PZ1' rattles along with nervous energy, frantic and frenetic, recalling the post-punk bands the trio bonded over, from PiL to Devo and Television. It’s refreshing to hear a punk band sans guitars. Brooks’ screeches and wails on an often-processed violin provide the perfect counterpoint to Burroughs’ own staccato delivery.
Lyrically, Burroughs tackles bold subject matter, too. The album is essentially a love letter to London, their ditties covering everything from the Grenfell Tower tragedy to seedy late antics in car parks. There’s even a love song to a mobile phone (the appropriately titled 'Engaged').
While socially conscious, they acknowledge their stance is more observational, rather than trying to provide any answers. That said, they’re not short of ideas, packing a colourful array of imagery into the album’s short duration.
But, musically, while their self-imposed restrictions give Pozi a clearly defined sound and sense of space, it’s also their Achilles heel. You quickly warm to them and can’t help but admire their strength of vision. In spite of this, though, it’s hard to shake that nagging feeling of novelty – a gimmick that instantly delights yet soon starts to wear a bit thin across an entire album.
That’s not to say there aren’t tantalising flashes of greatness. 'Doggers' sounds like a Dalek having an aneurism. And who wouldn’t want to hear that? So, 'PZ1' contains many treasures – a fun, intelligent and proudly irreverent debut, albeit a bit repetitive too. It’s a neat trick, sure, but here’s hoping they learn a few more for the sequel.
Words: Felix Rowe
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