Ninety second waves of… funnily enough panic attacks!
Clifffs are pretty annoyed at the way how a lot of modern music is put together. Masterminded by John Dufilho, Clifffs’ second album ‘Panic Attack’ removes all the fluff and provides lean punk rock. 13 songs, 24 minutes and not a single bit of tech wizardry in sight.
John said that he was angered that drums and chords are being perfectly placed onto computer screens – rigid and mechanically. His response is to create a purists punk rock album. Strip out all the crap and Clifffs remain a three-piece unit with basic audio production and very little to distinguish themselves from simple punk rock recordings from the mid-1970s. With John on voice and guitar, Andy on Bass and Bill on drums – each track blasts a riff, a verse, a chorus and a statement of intent. Aside from the superb ‘You Are Freaking Out’ and ‘Drown the Thought’ – the songs barely reach the two-minute mark, if most over by 90 seconds.
The title track sets the mood perfectly. The guitar riff is speedy and cyclic. The vocals are always just a step away from breaking into a frenzy. The song switches from verse to chorus quickly. Other tracks throw in a quick solo or a scream and then we swiftly move onto the next piece. The brevity and pace of each track feels like an audio panic attack. It’s visceral but also quite rhythmic as you veer from one stimulus to another.
That being said, some listeners may be annoyed to cream through 13 songs in 24 minutes. Initially, I was too as I wanted more but I’ve found that ‘Panic Attack’ works really well when taken as a whole. After all the drama of dodging bullets, ‘Life’ is a euphoric finale that celebrates all that came before it and restores your energy.
Clifffs have created a tightly woven two-finger salute to the daily grind and whilst they may not enjoy modern music production, they certainly identify with the modern malaise of the world. A little gem for rock fans.