Cold Cream

Cold Cream

Self released


Here’s a shocker: Cold Cream is a great punk band. When the crew of Triangle punk-rock lifers—Montgomery Morris and Laura King of Flesh Wounds (among others), Ron Liberti of Pipe, Clark Blomquist of Tegucigalpan—launches into the opening salvo of “Wage Theft,” that much is clear. Liberti’s slashing, serrated chords, King’s bouncing bass, and Blomquist’s walloping drums guide the song’s manic thrust as Morris delivers a bilious invective that serves as fanfare the working man: “Keep the labor at the bottom/So consumers have the products,” he spits. Perhaps unsurprisingly, politics and oppression rule the day. “Rat Fucker” rails against gerrymandering and voter suppression; “Fasting” inveighs against the deleterious environmental effects of industrialized meat production.

But Cold Cream is also smart as hell. Its invective is littered with, and maybe driven by, historical touchpoints and references. “Eichmann in Jerusalem” is a Germs-y philippic that meditates on Hannah Arendt’s theory of the banality of evil. Dour psych-punk banger “See You on the Somme” invokes World War I imagery and references Wilfred Owen’s poem “Dulce Et Decorum Est” to fulminate against the self-perpetuating state of warfare. That these songs often race by—only “Somme” clocks in over two and a half minutes—doesn’t blunt their intellect or impact.

For all the weighty subject matter, Cold Cream peppers its polemics with a gnarly sense of humor. Back-half standout “In Carrz” rails against the yuppiefication of Carrboro (and probably the stretch of Rosemary in Chapel Hill that runs west into Carrboro, too). Morris rails against the new-model high-rise condos springing up in the verse and against the prevalence of artisan pizza and microbrewed beer in the bridge before wrapping up the chorus with a great tongue-in-cheek Gary Numan reference: “Now I feel the safest of all,” he sneers, “in Carrz.”

Given the members’ collective pedigree, that Cold Cream seems fully formed on its first release isn’t surprising. Nor is the band’s delivery of its snarling, sneering punk with bone-crunching force and adroit aplomb, or that, given the sociopolitical climate that birthed it, its brand of punk is fiercely personal and intensely political. It’s nice sometimes, though, to not be surprised, isn’t it?