Permanent Makeup hail from St. Petersburg, Florida’s burgeoning DIY music scene. Still, the group’s DNA is much more complex than your typical sun-drenched Florida punk band. Permanent Makeup was spawned from the same primordial ooze that transformed inspired youthful emissions via Sharpie-stained copy paper into zines and zines into tiny manifestos. Permanent Makeup defies punctuation. Their new album The Void…It Creeps, issued by Tampa’s New Granada label on CD and No Clear Records on vinyl, is a celebration of the fiercely independent American rock n’ roll underground that has quietly been growing in the shadows of the dystopia that is modern “indie” rock.
“Pose Blast” opens with a trademark barrage of feedback. Dissonance swells before the whole lot falls into line behind Susan Dickson-Nadeau’s primal drum stomp. The song is instantly anthemic as part-time frontman Christopher Nadeau barks with an inspired cool that has long since been forgotten in punk rock. When he proclaims “I’ve got a reason, to believe!” you cannot help but do the same as the song sinks back into dissonance, then silence. Following track, “Death Throes of a Cockroach” may be the most fun legally allowed in two minutes and twenty seconds. The dance-guitar workouts of Pere Ubu come to mind as the band churns out a psycho-disco groove that can only result in the flailing of limbs and shaking of extremities.
The rhythm section of husband/wife duo Christopher and Susan Nadeau frequently keep the aural assault from veering too far off path, but the true genius behind Permanent Makeup’s sonic abuse is guitar player James Bess. Most compositions revolve around the squawking, melodic lines hand built by Bess, weaving in and out of bass lines with too much swagger to call “angular”. In cuts like “Pigeonhole” and “Things Just Don’t Work Out”, Bess traverses the chaos with a painter’s touch, every shard of feedback as seemingly important as the singular melodies they threaten to swallow. In his tiniest of moments, he nods to the punk rock guitar Gods of yesterday (Miller, Verlaine) all the while reinventing the art.
Destruction is a common theme throughout The Void…It Creeps, but certainly not destruction for destruction’s sake. These folks are not anarchists, just well-read optimists. “Don’t Self Destruct” sways like a Daydream Nation b-side, lost on the cutting room floor before “Deconstruct It” closes out the album with Christopher instructing “Deconstruct everything you see…” over the most simple of primitive grooves. The greatest triumph of The Void…It Creeps may be the complete abolition of any sentiment concerning punk rock’s demise. It is clearer than ever that it is still evolving.