INTERVIEW: Fleckt Pets | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Shaun Tate

From Fleckt Pets’ last release, This Is Our Punk, to their new EP War Cry, you can see instantly see that the band’s attentions have turned a little more political. The front cover shows Tony Blair patting bass player Calum Piercy’s head when he was a child (actual photo) and the title track War Cry discusses social inequality.

“It is political,” confirms guitarist Ryan Pilot, “there’s something happening right now, there’s a movement happening and we’re all behind it. Socialism is back on the plate, back on the menu.”

For me, the Middlesbrough band stand out as one of the few acts who seem to encapsulate the anger that a lot of people are feeling. Calum states how important it is for bands to act as social commentators. “I guess people are so disinterested with politicians…all the lies, all the bollocks…maybe some people need a more honest approach, which can come from bands, or anyone really, but not from politicians who are in it for their own goals or the party’s goals.”

It’s not just their songwriting focus that has changed from the previous EP, as Ryan points out. “We’ve based more songs around his bass riffs, a lot of them have been good starting points,” this, and recording live in a single room with First Avenue’s David Curle, according to Calum has made the EP more raw and experimental.

“We didn’t try to be poppy or catchy as much as the last one; we tried to capture the live sound.”

The band combine their influences that frontman Tom Barber describes as coming together like “a proper shit mashed potato” to create an EP that manages to harness all the political, punk rock values of old but at the same time imbibing a sense of fun without being too preachy. They don’t just point the finger; Tom expresses thoughts on his frustration with modern society, discussing drinking and violence amongst other things, with the articulation of Jarvis Cocker or Alex Turner. Songs such as Mucky Duck and Roach act as a black mirror reflecting life through a glass of snarling vocals, relentless beats and dirty, fuzzy riffs.

Fleckt Pets are definitely not a band who are all substance over style, in fact, they are a visual live force to be reckoned with, describing their live performances as “fucking ace” and “better than sex”; both bold claims that I cannot disagree with having been witness to the sweat and carnage of a few Fleckt Pets gigs. It’s obvious that their live performance is incredibly important to them. “We’re not showy with the songs we write, we just write what we fucking like but when we’re live, we’re there, we’re going to entertain these people.”

Fleckt Pets’ War Cry EP is released on Friday 26th February. The band play Westgarth Social Club, Middlesbrough on Friday 25th March in support of The Membranes.

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