Having bubbled in underground circles for three previous albums, ‘Endure’ marks Special Interest’s debut for Rough Trade and manages to plant a foot in both worlds - the resolutely uncompromising punks of old, and a band capable of infiltrating at least the more alternative end of the radio - with gusto. If crunching, brilliant single ‘(Herman’s) House’, with its Gossip-esque dancefloor stalk and lyrics referencing Black revolutionary campaigner Herman Wallace, earmarked the visceral spirit at the heart of the quartet, then it’s only the tip of the iceberg here. ‘Endure’ is, to put it mildly, not background music. ‘Foul’ is a call-and-response burst of anxiety about the state of modern living that shouts clipped worries (“Calloused hands… Short staffed/ Sleep deprived”) over discordant bass, while ‘Impulse Control’ thunders along with not-even-slightly concealed rage at the trust fund kids with “psychopathic tendencies and shining white veneers”. There is, from ‘Endure’’s title onwards, a tangible sense of frustration and anger, that these songs are less a cathartic endeavour and more a full on exorcism, but there are newly-restrained moments of levity too. ‘Midnight Legend’ shimmies rather than stalks, vocalist Alli Logout offering a softer side to their character, while ‘Cherry Blue Intention’’s sassy chants of “OK alright, let’s ride” are like if Charli XCX teamed up with The Rapture. But crucially, though they might be the most radio-friendly offerings here, these tracks need ‘Endure’’s harsher, more volatile moments to really see the full puzzle. Special Interest, luckily, excel at both.
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Having set the underground alight for some years with their incendiary dance-punk, the New Orleans group are dreaming big with ‘Endure’.
They’re also sharing new single ‘Midnight Legend’ with Mykki Blanco.
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The song is centred around the story of Herman Wallace, one of the Angola Three.