On Canshaker Pi’s new album Naughty Naughty Violence, there’s a track called Indie Academy, a concept they’re presumably familiar with after support slots with the likes of The Cribs, Parquet Courts and Car Seat Headrest already under their belts. Indeed, the Amsterdam quartet have already amassed both a decent following and critical response, looking to move up a couple of notches into the pantheon of indie darlings off the back of this sophomore release.
If that’s the case, it might be a bit touch-and-go whether this will be the album to do it, but Canshaker Pi have undoubtedly got something here that’ll sate an indie-rock fix to some degree. That mostly comes from what seems to be learning from those around them; there’s a lot here that pulls from the three aforementioned acts, packed with a fuzzed, ramshackle energy and snark that seems to be a prerequisite in this genre. And it’s tough to say how well it works, mainly because Canshaker Pi’s approach is definitely fractured in a way that doesn’t always flatter them. The desire for crunchy, unhinged garage-rock is something that’s distinctly present and in a good fashion on a song like Smurf, but when it’s condensed into minute-long shards like on Sooner / Later and But Why, it feels like a band scraping the leftovers from the cutting room floor together to hopefully beef up the release. The same can be said for the elongated instrumental passages on If Kelly Doesn’t, Then Who Will? and especially the limping Legless; neither are particularly awful, but there’s not a whole lot here than warrants them being there.
Really, trimming down Naughty Naughty Violence to its most essential elements would result in a much leaner, more potent listen, particularly as Canshaker Pi are capable of writing the most simple, effective songs. The likes of Pressure From Above, Tonsil and Indie Academy all clearly pull from a quintessentially British strain of indie present in the mid-2000s, but with the tiniest bit of punk drive and Willem Smit’s European lilt in his vocals, there’s a distinction that’s very much in line with the genre’s current scene, but it’s still recognisable all the same. At the minute it all seems to be based on potential than outright evidence, but it’s unavoidable in Canshaker Pi’s case.
Even if Naughty Naughty Violence isn’t a great representation of that potential, it’s enough for now. There’s enough of an audience to be captivated by the their sound and who’ll be into it enough to avoid the inconsistencies that are there, and that’s probably the best possible thing that Canshaker Pi can hope for right now. They’ll evolve, sure, and those inconsistencies will be ironed out, but the fact that’s essentially a dead cert at this point is enough.
For fans of: Car Seat Headrest, Black Lips, Parquet Courts
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Naughty Naughty Violence’ by Canshaker Pi is released on 1st June on Excelsior Records.