The Scenics - Punk Haiku #2: See Me Smile
The Scenics continue their chronology of their own history while making it more obvious that punk history needs to be reconsidered in the light of their 70s work. "Punk haiku #2: See Me Smile" is full of their arty, hypnotic songs, that draw as much from Pere Ubu as from Television. In a recent email with the band, they said that during the mid-70s they were aware of some of what was going on in the punk scene, but not a lot; they were too busy writing and playing, swept up in the creative underground burst that was felt even by bands who didn't know each other, or how to explain how they became part of what became punk. As usual, it started with the Velvets and Stooges, and morphed from their in every city that had fans of those bands.
There is also a Gang of Four feel to "O Boy," a lo-fi dignity to the more abstract "I Have You" and "New Part in Town." "See Me Smile" and sounds like early Who with Tom Verlaine on vocals. Truly stunning are a run of songs-"Scenic Caves, "Have You Seen Your Mother," "Jaunty Castro" and "I'm Hurt," which cover so much of what was to come after them, from DNA to feedtime, minutemen to Huskers. To know that this music was made in a very small Ontario scene, with sketchy access to similar souls in other places, is amazing, and only places The Scenics higher on the list of important first/second wave punk bands. "Punk haiku #2: See Me Smile" is beyond essential, and is probably the most revelatory of all the band's recent retrospectives.
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