We know Ryan Adams can do earnest folk-rock. He’s also got a surprisingly firm grasp on heavy metal. But as he proves with his new group Pornography, a true punk resides within Mr. Mandy Moore. The trio, also featuring Rock N Roll collaborators Johnny T. Yerington and Leah Hennessey, spent just two hours recording their debut EP, Seven Minutes In Heaven, seven songs over seven minutes that remind us of the first time punk exploded into our ears and our hearts.
The whole “seven in seven” bit is gimmicky, but the record’s never any less earnest or visceral. It’s 420 seconds of unceasing ferocity and intensity, a madcap soundtrack that grabs you by the collarbone and clamps down until you’re battered and dumbfounded. It’s arguably the most concussive demonstration of modern hardcore’s real potential for feats of noise and mayhem, and just when it finally loosens its grip, you can’t help but beg to be eviscerated again and again.
Even amidst this concussive blast of punk mortar fire, Adams and his rag tag team demonstrate real nuance and variation. “Fake Snake, Real Pony” features the nihilistic guitar drone of The Misfits; “Cats & Dogs” takes the goofy tendencies of early ’80s punk (the chorus is “Cat and dog party”) and lends it a belying tension; “Last Night at the Opera” mixes in sturdier bits of surf and pop to lend weight and durability; and “Police Scanner” is dripping with Melvins-esque grime and paranoia, a slight break in the chaos that displays heart and guts.
No matter the tweaks or tinges made with various sub-genres, this is punk as many of us have it crystallized in our memory banks: loud, fast, a little weird, and powerful enough to sweep us into its clutches while keeping our angst or smash-dancing highly personal. It’s not Adams’ most evocative work, but blast this and just try fighting the urge to smash your couch asunder.
Essential Tracks: At seven minutes, you can listen to the whole thing twice over breakfast.