Nice’n’Sleazy, Glasgow, Tue 17 Oct
Whether it’s new rave, nu-metal, emo or screamo, scenes invented by lazy hacks and twitchy hangers-on in overly-styled clothing don’t have a habit of sticking around for long. Thankfully the best of the bunch lumped into them do, and this inventive San Francisco trio thrust into the limelight in 2003 on the back of the punk-funk movement are one of the acts in it for the long haul. Where the now obsolete Radio 4, Moving Units and Hot Hot Heat failed by being unable to adequately follow up the records that catapulted them to success, Erase Errata have made the LP of their career in the recently released Night Life, even if it took them three years to do it.
Formed back in 2001, and quickly gaining a faithful legion of devotees with Other Animals and At Crystal Palace, the band now find themselves on the respected Kill Rock Stars roster (home to such treats as The Gossip, Sleater-Kinney and Elliott Smith over the years), yet one member down after guitarist Sara Jaffe left for grad school in 2004. The departure forced Jenny Hoyston (vocals, guitar), Ellie Erickson (bass) and Bianca Sparta (drums) to re-think everything, even rehearsing with a male singer at one point, but as Sparta explained recently it gave them the impetus to come back even stronger. ‘We had a lot of practices of just playing and playing, hating the band, doing a lot of work to get solid. Then all of a sudden it started clicking and we ended up writing really quickly. It was fluid and relaxed.’
Happy musicians make happy fans, which Erase Errata’s third effort will prove. It’s a political hurricane of an album fuelled by discordant buzzing riffs, juddering basslines, danceable drums, compelling ice cool vocals and thought-provoking lyrics covering everything from war and romance to the frustration caused by capitalism in the western world. It’s intelligent, but most importantly it’s catchy, rhythmic and raging with passion and energy. Hoyston recently claimed, ‘My lyrics are about the government, political disillusionment, and the things that keep us from thinking about what is really going on - being distracted by night life, consumerism and celebrity watching.’ Polemics aside, in polishing up their frantic art punk racket, Erase Errata now sound like an act fit for much more than simply cult status. And if more people cotton on to this culturally significant bunch, that’s when the real differences will be made.