Bastard Disco — China Shipping (2019)

Technically, story of Polish-Ukrainian band Bastard Disco begins in 2015, a year after vocalist Yuri Kasianenko moved from Kiev to Warsaw. I will start a little earlier though, since this is a review for neformat.com.ua, which plays a favorable role in a band`s background.

I met Yuri Kasianenko for the first time at the legendary Denis Yambor`s rehearsal space "Quadra", where we had all-night rehearsal in 2009. At the time, he played drums for Nice Wings, Icarus!, a post-rock band with a violin and long, complex compositions. Yuri did well, but it was clear that he really wanted to set the heat, but post-rock did not allow it. We rehearsed before the Delay Worship show, where, apart from guys from Icarus, local electronic post-rockers Coala Pascal were to play. Also Yuri and I were the concert rhythm section for Krobak, post-rock project of Igor Sidorenko. Yuri turned out to be a high-spirited fellow in glasses, who was full of the strangest ideas about all sorts of music from black metal and punk rock to some kind of cold wave. On top of this vast range of musical tastes, which is typical for folks from neformat.com.ua, it was obvious that emo was the genre Yuri was mostly in love with.

And so emo came along. Just a couple of months after that, the story of Russian-speaking emo-rockers Date Rape began, which Yuri set out himself exhaustively, leaving me little to add. The guys played every single gig like it was the end of the world, and left the scene being at their best, having played the last show marvelously at Neformat Fest 2014.

About this time, the irreversible thing happened: Yuri stared so sing. In 2012, there was a fleeting screamo-project САЛЮТ!, a little later — a lo-fi acoustic midwest emo duo with Sasha Koval from Maloi; the latter evolved into a studio project Light Matters. In addition, Yuri sang for a while with the band Alinda, though many folks didn`t like his vocals there. Nevertheless, Yuri`s voice turned out to be pleasant and recognizable, and his technique of singing improved through the years substantially.

Shortly after the final collapse of the Date Rape, Yuri moved to Warsaw. In his article for the 7th issue of punk magazine Bіlshe he describes differences between the Polish scene and ours:

"Cold wave, shoegaze and noise artists come here every week, so genre affiliation or, let`s say, a fashionable appearance does not guarantee attendance at all. Going on the hype to the genre is unlikely. Polish post-punk is like post-soviet rockapops of late nineties: not stylish, not fashionable and not youthful. The rise of the underground in Poland was not in noughties, as in Ukraine, but in the nineties. However, it's worth noting that rock is back in fashion again."

No wonder, Yuri`s next band actually plays that same rock music he was talking about. Formed in 2015 in Warsaw, Bastard Disco soon signed up for one of the oldest polish indie labels Antena Krzyku, which in 2017 released their debut album "Warsaw Wasted Youth". Local media swiftly fell in love with the guys: for example, Polish Noisey called them "local sensation of the year". The first album turned out to be harsh and punky, though very melodic. Leading loud basslines, tough choruses and noisy dirty sound are holding sway here. Yuri now almost completely sang with clean vocals, which turned out really nice. He does not simply sing here, but starts building real stories in the songs, though it is still difficult to dig into them without any hint. Three songs I would like to mention here: the closing "Towards The Void" is seven-minute quasi-psychedelia with musical greetings to Doors` "The End", "Medicine" has emotion and diversity and "Mourning" is a post-punk banger with the most powerful chorus. The last one, however, sounds brighter on demo recordings, and I strongly regret they didn`t work on this mopey hit a little more.

The new album, "China Shipping", released on May 3 on the same old Antena Krzyku, sounds not so dirty and brazen, but Yuri has really worked on the stories now and sings a bit differently in each song. Since Yuri loves to write and knows how to do it right, he explained every song`s meaning in his blog, so I don`t really have to. Personally, my favorites turned out to be the sad and desperate story of Future Crimes, completely insane plot of Game of Patriots and the futuristic opening song about robot Sophia: well, you can`t go anywhere these days without memes, do you?

Although the sound has now become cleaner, guys still got the balls. Yuri Kasianenko made his singing even cleaner, with a little touch of Iggy Pop`s howling. Due to the dominant bass of Paweł Cholewa and the loud measured drums of Marek Kamiński, one can instantly recall all the classics from Fugazi, Moss Icon, Quicksand or At the Drive-In to Unwound are very vividly remembered. The ghostly guitar melodies of Kamil Feiffer sound refreshing with this background — perhaps the reason is that Kamil, as they say, does not particularly respect any bands except Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins.

Stylistically, most tracks float between post-hardcore and alternative rock, with the sound of the first and song features of the second. As exceptions, we have a two-minute punk rock banger "Clear!" and a slow, kind of doom-metal track "Game of Patriots". Songwriting highlights here are the gloomy "Future Crimes", the lyrical "Sink or Swim" and the opener "Sophia". You can see that guys know their strengths, because they shot videos for all these: original and dynamic for the first one, strange urban for the second one, an expensive and literal for third one.

Needless to say, local Polish music media praise this album extensively. I won`t be very original here: the album is decent, deep and pretty entertaining. Bastard Disco successfully balances between melody, sadness and aggression, while not forgetting to be flexible and diverse. If you need a fresh soundtrack for melancholy and dance, then "China Shipping" is the best you can get.

The opinions expressed in the reviews convey the views of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of Neformat.com.ua

Bastard Disco in social networks:

https://bastarddisco.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/bastarddisco/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCI43Hs6TR-YC0ivJ_3nftDA

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1. Sophia
2. Future Crimes
3. Time Traveler
4. Clear
5. Shining Confidence
6. Ministry of Self-Defence
7. Game of Patriots
8. Sink or Swim
9. B-Side Son 

03.05.2019