Boomkat Product Review:
Louisiana punk-disco-pop outfit Special Interest excel on their third album, carving up genre in the service of a message that confidently approaches queerness, Blackness, and global inequality. Featuring Mykki Blanco.
It's not easy to infuse pop with revolutionary messages. While that felt like the norm for a short while in the 1960s and '70s, especially during the civil rights era and the war in Vietnam, right now marketing platforms have made it almost impossible for anything to cut through the opaque cultural red tape. If you say something radical, chances are nobody's likely to hear it. Thankfully, Special Interest have managed to transcend trending indifference, and since 2015 have been using their music as a megaphone for singer Alli Logout's searing political motivations and queer sexual fantasies. In the past, their music was gruesomely punky, almost knife-edge noisy - "Endure" is different, more informed by pop and more visceral and affecting as a result.
'Midnight Legend' might be the best entry point to the album and sounds as if it's erupting from another era, fusing tweaky B-52s funk-pop with echoing house euphoria (think Frankie Knuckles) and wiry Blondie-esque punk. 'Love Scene' meanwhile is dissonant and psychedelic, matching Throbbing Gristle drum machine burps with wailing guitar drones and sickly vocals from Logout. But the band is at its strongest when they're able to unpick their knotty politics, like on '(Herman's) House', a throaty disco-punk burner that's named after a 2012 documentary about Herman Wallace, a Black Panther who was imprisoned for over four decades. Wallace worked with artist Jackie Sumell from within prison to imagine his dream home, but died in 2013 before it could be built - an ending that Logout uses to talk about broken dreams.
Special Request's music might sound throwback on the surface, but dig a little deeper, listen a little closer, and it's screaming about right fucking now.