Ikara Colt 

Chat and Business

In the years since Johnny Rotten first reared his spiky-coifed head, the blueprint drawn up by the class of '77 has been endlessly revised and built on through American-born hardcore and grunge. Who knew that when British punks threw down the gauntlet 25 years ago, a couple of generations of Uncle Sam's kids would take up the challenge?

Ironically, England itself has been conspicuously slow in spawning successors to its original crop of rock 'n' roll revolutionaries. Rather, recent British movements like "Madchester" and Britpop created a new rock aristocracy preoccupied with little more than its own hedonism, platinum sales, and tabloid celebrity. But this is what makes Ikara Colt's reaffirmation of the antiestablishment ideals of UK punk all the more timely.

"A new day is dawning," vocalist Paul Resende chants on "City of Glass," and it feels more like a warning than a celebration. Ikara Colt calls for a complete artistic upheaval, and Chat and Business is the band's manifesto, serving notice to icons of everything from boring pop music ("Video Clip Show," "Pop Group") to bourgeois art ("Sink Venice," "Belgravia").

But the London-based quartet doesn't bludgeon the listener with three-chord rants and anarchy rhetoric; this is minimalist art-college punk in the tradition of Wire and the Fall. Guitarist Clarie Ingram, bassist Jon Ball, and drummer Dominic Young create a cacophony that crackles with nervous energy and provides a potent spark for Resende's incendiary lyrics.

If you thought all the venom had been drained out of punk by cookie-cutter pop-punk bands and tattooed roots revivalists, this record may restore your faith. But don't get too attached. Bandmembers have told the British press that any band that exceeds its five-year shelf-life should be taken out and shot. Don't expect IC to wear out its welcome; the band has said its desire is to incite kids to pick up guitars and trump it at its own game. Any takers?

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