Adulkt Life, made of Huggy Bear’s Chris Rowley, Male Bonding’s John Arthur Webb and Kevin Hendrick, and drummer Sonny Barrett, will release their debut album, Book Of Curses, on November 6th via What’s Your Rupture? Today, they present new singles, “New Curfew” and “JNR Showtime,” which follow a string of previously released songs – “Taking Hits,” “Stevie K,” and “County Pride.”
Rowley couldn’t have anticipated the prescient dynamic, affecting closer, “New Curfew,” when he wrote it last year—a song about the contradictions of youthful protest and unrest from the perspective of a parent whose daughter may soon be rioting herself. He further explains: “‘New Curfew’ – the moment past meets present and generations inevitably divide,dizzy rascal state of mind hears /or doesn’t Mission of Burma’s panic at emergency, stress lullaby beats fret at the window waiting for your kids to come home safe, trigger fingers rubbing security blankets.” The second new single, “JNR Showtime,” is audibly pained and addresses child abuse with rage and disgust. “Purge moment, complete disgust and a knight in shining armour falling headfirst into a puddle,through a window? The casual links to child abuse and random greasy swipes at innocence unavenged / not for lack of trying agitated fast product meets Chicago explosions call for response!”
Huggy Bear led the UK’s answer to riot grrrl, inspired by the “seismic shock” of witnessing a Nation of Ulysses performance together and galvanized by Bikini Kill drummer Tobi Vail’s germinal riot grrrl zine “Jigsaw.” In the 25 years since Chris Rowley played with iconic Huggy Bear, starting a new band hasn’t felt right. But after John Arthur Webb (Male Bonding), drummer Sonny Barrett, and Kevin Hendrick, it clicked. For Rowley, Adulkt Life “felt like it could carry the weight of all the things I would want to culturally load into a band without having to compromise any of it.” That meant these songs—ecstatic buzzsaw guitars, blown-out poetry, the improvisatory energy of torrential art-punk drumming that reveals Sonny’s free-jazz interest—should reflect the conditions of his life as an older person. He poses inexhaustible questions: What is it to parent in a crumbling world? What does it mean to stay political as Earth burns, to keep loving music? Adulkt Life inquires but offers no easy answers, instead instigating punk’s eternal invitation to see.
The cut-and-paste word collages Rowley once shouted in Huggy Bear are as cool and thrilling as ever on Book Of Curses—with chiseled noise hooks expertly mixed by Webb and mastered by Total Control’s Mikey Young, fitting the “cold war bubblegum” aesthetic called out in the lyrics—but charged by the high-stakes of adulthood. These songs, ablaze, explore lawlessness, authenticity, love, redemption, like fables of radicals across time and space: us versus them, defeat and resurrection, sax squall, noise blasts, visceral empathy for the vulnerable and disenfranchised. Rowley’s apocalyptic visions just happen to appear alongside bedtime stories. On Book Of Curses, punk means never surrendering your creativity or your curiosity.
In conjunction with these new tracks, Adulkt Life releases an online zine titled “Deliver Us From Evil,” which features original artwork.