Messed Up — BIRTHDAY PARTY

Which wave of riot grrl are we up to now? 4th? 5th? No matter, these gen-z punkers bulldoze their way into the punk rock catalog with chugging riffage, sturdy songcraft, and a drummer with a keen ear for dynamics. Frequently venturing out from their native Belarus to neighboring Poland and Lithuania, Messed Up display the kind of punk chutzpah that will likely endear them to the worldwide DIY community.

A charming dichotomy can be observed between the juxtaposition of their roaring instrumental attack/sneering vocals and the earnest, fun-loving characteristics they choose to display off-stage. This is a group that knows that r&r is most effective when it’s fun. As the maxim goes, if you can’t dance to it, no one wants to be part of the revolution.

Like any punk band worth its salt, they want to write Songs That Matter. This is a dangerous artistic goal, in the sense that any attempt at writing seriously about any sort of sociopolitical content can very easily devolve into warmed-over platitudes and windmill-tilting naysaying (e.g Anti-Flag, Rise Against and the rest of their lukewarm ilk). To this end, Messed Up refuse to tread carefully, instead opting to bulldoze their way through heady topics regarding their local culture and social norms at large. Fortunately, they never lose sight of the values that make punk rock stimulating: effective, efficient songcraft, hooky riffage, catchy sung/shouted vocals and drum/bass dynamics that alternate between the fluid and the rigid.

On their bandcamp, they very helpfully provide EN translations but they opt to write in their native language. A brave choice, to narrow the parameters of their audience and insist upon writing about the environment that inspires them (An efficiently-written report on the Belarus DIY community can be found here)

When writing about MU, it’s tempting to reference any number of all-girl rock bands, from Sleater-Kinney to Babes In Toyland, this roughshod Belarus quartet most resembles, with their earnest grit and barely post-adolescent enthusiasm, are these one-time DIY’ers who would go on to become major-label, world-conquering megastars. Will the same happen to Messed Up? Unlikely, as their little community is too far removed from mainstream channels towards mass acceptance and their material too willfully regional. The potential’s still there though. Who knows? Even if it doesn’t, this kind of rock is necessary.

RIYLElastica, Sløtface, Emma Goldman, fuzz pedal feedback