Having grown up within spitting distance of Hastings, I can say without bullshitting that there has always been a solid punk scene lurking behind the peeling doughnut shops and once forlorn, now skeletal pier. Seeing both the Filaments and Capdown there on separate occasions as an impressionable young teenager before growing to hang around at the skate park, smoke weed in Linton Gardens, seeing bands play while the walls sweated in the Crypt - all of these things shaped me for better or worse. All of these things have clearly shaped Maid of Ace as well, a group of sisters who thrash out Hellcat-style punk rock as if their next cider depended on it. Opening tracks ‘Enemy Within’ and ‘Nothin’ on Me’ gives you a good idea where they are coming from, a whirlwind of pounding rhythm, distorted riffs and throat wrenching vocals. This is definitely the main thrust of the record’s attack, working particularly well on ‘Dirty Girl’ where a sludgy chorus with shouted gang vocals wrestles for attention with the furious speed of the rest of the song. If this was it things could get boring, but there are enough varying influences cropping up to keep the listeners attention. The mellow opening riff which brings a false sense of security to ‘Sick of You’ soon gives way to a punk rock assault but it is in this, in the creeping indie guitar of ‘Horror Show’ and in the 90s grunge influenced alternative love song ‘Cannibal’ that are visible the seeds of great things to come. Perhaps the main point to make out of these differing influences is that they are always played within context – i.e. not forced and sounding out of place, just another exclamation point to their juggernaut balls out rock n roll. Apart from the above mentioned tracks, high point for me is the psychobilly-tinged ‘Dickhead’ which calls someone out for moving to London and getting too Nathan Barley for his Ugg boots…we all know a couple right? This is a solid opening salvo of sea spray and cider-flecked gutter punk from a group who you are sure to hear more from soon.
By Jono Coote