The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website


Current Affairs
Off the Tongue Amanda Farah , July 14th, 2023 06:39

Glaswegian quartet make spikey, scrappy post-punk that exudes an overwhelming feeling of joy, finds Amanda Farah

After years of releasing singles and EPs and making tweaks to their line-up, Current Affairs are solidifying around their debut full-length. Off the Tongue is a scrappy slice of post-punk from beginning to end. Energy is the watchword, with scraping guitar and yawping vocals, anchored by strong, rubber band snapping bass lines throughout the album.

Despite starting off with red herring sci-fi electronics, Off the Tongue makes a quick shift to guitars whose sound borrows heavily from the late 80s. While it’s tempting to conclude that this is a guitar band, it’s singer Joan Sweeney’s vocals that feel like the main catalyst – they are equal turns sharp, defiant, encouraging, and like they might start some fires along the way.

This brash aesthetic comes through loud and clear on ‘Casual Radicals’; even with one of the spikier guitar lines on the album, Sweeney’s vocals still lead the charge, channeling a tone similar to Siouxsie Sioux on lower-fi recordings. The attitude in her vocals conveys a real feeling of power that can also be heard in ‘Regardless’, where a subdued but insistent rhythm provides a tense background to her pointed delivery. “Take your time / but don’t waste mine” she sings – and it’s easy to imagine her target as an ex-lover or a prolific naysayer – before the synths bubble up behind an excited chorus.

Even though there is that feeling of power emanating through the songs, it doesn’t stop a bit of sass or fun from peeking their way through. Current Affairs have found a way to fuse a low-key positivity into their songs without it ever becoming cloying.

The height of this joyous, high energy abandon is ‘Get Wrecked’. Its stomping verses extolling the value of starting from scratch careen into a guitar-driven chorus where Sweeney demands “Turn your wits about!” The frantic pace is kept up on a taunting outro where the guitar and keyboards pull focus from each other like they’re trading insults.

Album closer ‘Her Own Private Multiverse’ is the most muted song on the album, with ringing guitars and a more earnest, less boisterous vocal from Sweeney. Even then, she’s still coaxing and assuring: “you’re an original / a stellar individual”. There’s more of a cool detachment than some of the frenzy or rallying cries of the rest of Off the Tongue, but the album closes out with the feeling that band are firmly in your corner.